A jacket that communicates with electronic devices is the latest invention in wearable technology.
The “smart jacket” was developed by Google in partnership with the American clothing manufacturer Levi’s.
The two companies recently demonstrated the jacket at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas.
The jacket is made from the same denim material that Levi’s is known for worldwide. But it also comes equipped with wireless connectivity.
The technology uses fabric made with materials that can carry electronic signals. This lets people touch an area of the jacket near the wrist to perform wireless actions.
The interactive jacket includes a small “smart tag” that attaches to the end of the sleeve. This connects with Bluetooth technology to communicate with other devices.
If this tag is removed, the jacket can be washed just like other pieces of clothing. The jacket is expected to begin selling this autumn for $350.
The new product demonstrates Google and Levi’s desire to create a modern version of denim. The material was first introduced in 1873.
The jacket lets users easily control mobile devices while doing other activities, the project website says. Users can connect directly from the jacket to several different services, including phones, music or maps.
Developers expect the jacket to be especially popular among bicycle riders. They may find the technology easier to use than a smartwatch.
The project website says its team expects to see many other kinds of wearable technology in the future. It also urges designers to come up with their own ideas.