Levi’s Made a $350 Jacket for When You Ride a Bike

Levi’s and Google have collaborated on a new trucker’s jacket that features a touch-sensitive smart sleeve, enabling the user to swipe it like he does a cell phone. The jacket is particularly handy for commuters who ride bicyclists. They can easily touch their sleeve to use their phone rather than fumbling with the device itself while pedaling towards a destination.

Dubbed the Jacquard system, it knows when you’re wearing the jacket and reads texts out loud or delivers them via headphones. And to prevent notification overkill, it can be programmed to only answer calls and texts from specific people. The system also helps you control your music playlist. In addition, users can program addresses and receive directions—a handy feature while your hands are on the handlebars.

Basically, you can be on the move and answer texts, phone calls, and follow directions with less distraction. The cuff of the jacket vibrates when you have an incoming notification, similar to a smartwatch.

How does it work? Fibers are woven into the fabric, and the technology connects to an iPhone or Android device via Bluetooth. The user downloads an app and then customizes several gestures (such as swiping your hand up or doing a double tapping motion) to perform various tasks.

It’s meant to be a simple and intuitive technology to make commuting by bike hassle-free. The jacket itself is a classic design, with several pockets and reflectors. But it’s a bit on the pricey side. It costs $350—over $200 more than Levi’s standard trucker jacket. It’s easy to care for as well. You simply remove the Bluetooth dongle, which is attached to the cuff, and put the jacket in the washing machine and dryer.

The jacket will be on sale in selected stores on Sept. 27 and online on Oct. 2. Reaction to it appears to be mixed. Several YouTube users called it “useless,” “pointless,” a “waste of technology,” and “silly.” But many were impressed by its practicality and see this type of technology as the wave of the future.

One person wrote: “We’re currently so distracted by screens that you can’t walk down any city street without bumping into people engrossed in their phones. Simple tech solutions that allow input / give feedback without having to be totally immersed and distracted are the future.”

A second user commented: “I can do most of the useful things that this does with my LG Tones while riding my bike…. Still kinda want it for some reason though.”

Another simply stated, “DROOOOOOL.”


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