Google Wants You to Use Your Jeans Like a Phone

What if you could buy clothes that reminded you to call your mom and placed the call for you by simply touching them? Over the weekend, Google revealed a new project that’s going to make clothes into the new touchscreen. Project Jacquard, named after the creator of an early mechanical loom, is a series of inventions meant to push wearable tech into the mainstream fashion market.

The website describes the project as focusing on conductive yarn that can be used by any clothing mill, interactive fabrics that connect to phones, and designing techniques to integrate mini electronics into the threads. The first partner announced is Levi Strauss & Co. They aim to create a new line (possibly jeans) that get people to look away from their screens and focus on the people around them, typing into the seams of their pants instead of a screen in their face. They’re heralding it as, "apparel that is emotional, aspirational and functional."

Not much has been said about the possible uses of this fabric yet, or even the real functions of what it can do. Both companies are being pretty vague about the new line, leaving the public guessing about the specifics of the clothes, such as the pieces of clothing that will be made, how to wash them, and updating the tech inside are all left to speculation. The project’s website leaves us with the non-answer: “Jacquard is a blank canvas for the fashion industry.”

The biggest question that remains is: What can I actually do with them? Paul Dillinger, VP of Product Design at Levi’s, tried to answer these questions by saying, “The potential is that the input is the gesture – crossing your legs, swiping, saving, lifting.” It could be able to control the phone’s volume, brightness, and music by just touching the clothes. It’s even been hinted that the clothes could notify someone about weight gain. The price has yet to be discussed as well. But other wearables, like Opening Ceremony’s “Mophie Varsity Jacket” go for $465 and Ralph Lauren’s solar panel jacket went even higher at $599.

A lot is left to the imagination, but the intrigue factor is certainly there. Why pay for an iPhone when you can get a shirt that sends your texts for you?

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