Try it on: Connected clothing that helps everyone

Jacquard by Google aims to simplify your digital life by turning everyday things, like sneakers and jackets, into intuitive interfaces. A connected jacket with woven Jacquard technology lets people connect to their smartphone and use simple gestures to trigger functions from the Jacquard app. With this interactivity and connectivity built in, you can tap your sleeve to hear directions to your next destination or brush your cuff to change the song playing on your compatible music service. Jacquard technology works for phones running Android 6.0.1 or newer and iOS 11 or newer.

As a team, we’re motivated to understand how connected garment technology can provide access to digital services in situations where traditional mobile devices are difficult or inconvenient to use. As part of that goal, we started a series of research projects to explore and discover how Jacquard technology can help people with disabilities live more independent lives. 

We worked with Champions Place, a shared living residence for young adults with disabilities in the greater Atlanta area. Residents at Champions Place tried out the Jacquard Levi’s ® Commuter Trucker Jacket and let us know how a connected garment could be even more helpful to each of them. 

We discovered that for the residents at Champions Place a connected jacket gave them a simple and unobtrusive way to access technology on the go. For example, many residents at Champions Place commonly rely on emergency call solutions—usually a device worn around the neck that lets them quickly call for assistance. Those who use these devices imagined how the connected garment could be used as a discreet and less obtrusive alternative while blending into their daily lives. 

Once technology becomes part of the things you wear every day, fashion choices become as important as function. One resident trying out the Jacquard connected jackets admitted, “I am not necessarily a jean jacket person. I am thinking it will be useful that I can have a band that can be slipped on, underneath different sleeves or jackets, that way it is not tied to one piece clothing.” It’s feedback like that, that helps us to explore design solutions that people want to wear. We learned that fashion style and form factors, like a smart jacket or connected patch, matter, and one solution doesn’t fit all. 

Our work with Champions Place has just started. So far, the feedback has helped us envision how technology like Jacquard can help people live more independent lives without sacrificing style. Enhancing everyday objects with digital functionalities can lead to products that are helpful, comfortable, easy-to-use and stylish for everyone — including people with disabilities.

Learn more about Jacquard by Google.