Remember Google’s Project Jacquard? In 2017 they launched a denim jacket in collaboration with Levis, equipped with a touch sensitive smart fabric that worked as a remote for the wearer’s smartphone, to answer phone calls or get directions by tapping on the sleeve. And now they’re back again, but this time with a smart backpack in collaboration with French luxury brand Saint Laurent.
Just like its predecessor, the $995.00 backpack reacts to smart screen type gestures and taps, for instance to lower the volume on your music or receive text messages. So what’s new then?
Well, according to Digital Trends, the backpack comes with a new version of the Project Jacquard tag found in the left strap, and a Jacquard app that is designed to integrate with Google Assistant and its ”My Day” feature. The app will allow customized Google Assistant requests to be assigned to gestures, Cnet reports.
But the Saint Laurent bag is just the start. Jacquard 2.0 is going to get into a whole line of clothing and shoes this year. But not all the products will be as hefty priced as the Saint Laurent backpack.
The eyewear + sound trend is spreading. A while back Bose introduced their Frames glasses with speakers and microphones. And now here’s the latest offering in this area, a partnership between Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster and Chinese tech giant Huawei, who launched a range of smart glasses a couple of days ago, according to The Current Daily. These glasses have integrated microphones and speakers and Bluetooth technology to allow the wearer to answer calls by touching the frames and activate a voice assistant. As previously reported, several other tech giants are rumoured to work on their own varieties of smart glasses.
This week, Bose is rolling out their AR sunglasses for potential partners. And no, Frames, as they’re called, are not some new Google Glass-variety, where you add visual filters to your view. It’s more like a hybrid between headphones and glasses, or a portable smart speaker if you will. The temple of the glasses contain a microphone and a speaker which allows you to listen to music, take calls or speak on the phone while still being aware of external sounds. The glasses can also detect where you are and which direction you’re heading, and give directions. The idea is to combine the glasses with mobile apps for travel, exercise, games and so forth, but without having to use your hands or look at a screen.
This is not the first attempt to try to save us from our screens in later years. We have seen everything from bracelets and rings to smart glasses based on the same idea. But somehow it seems these attempts never really make it past the theoretical state. When it comes to the crunch, we still stick to our usual habits in practice.
Let’s see if this turns out differently.
The new smart glasses from Bose. Frames, as they’re called, come in two models. The smaller, rounder Rondo and the larger Alto.
Photo credit: Bose
On April 4, it’s time for me to take the stage again! This time I have the honour of being one of two moderators at Swedish startup magazine Breakit’s event Beauty and Fashion Tech. Along with Breakit’s business development manager Camilla Björkman I’ll be introducing an exciting line of speakers and panel members, including Dr Amanda Parkes of Future Tech Lab, Erik Lindvall of Streamateria and Erica Blomberg at Swedish Fashion Council. See the full program right here.
They have already brought solar charged jackets and an indestructible kevlar hoodie to the world. Now twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball, the men behind the clothing brand Vollebak, is releasing the first edition of a graphene coated jacket.
So what’s the deal with graphene then? Well, actually it is the thinnest possible layer of graphite, the same material that’s used in pencils. It’s only one single atom (!) thick, and also the strongest, lightest and most conductive material there is. Which makes it suitable for a number of things, now including clothing.
The Vollebak jacket is reversible, and is coated with graphene on one side and the other not. Depending on how you wear it, the jacket will interact with both your body and your surroundings in different ways. For instance, the jacket will not only conduct your body heat, but it can also store it and thereby functioning like a radiator. Also, bacteria can’t grow on graphene.
“When clothing can start conducting heat and electricity all sorts of cool things can start happening. It means that over the next decade your clothing can start to become a platform for other innovations. And that’s really what we’re interested in”, the team says in a press release.
Forget next season. The future is the thing to look for in fashion right now. Starting on September 4th, Munich Fabric House and fashion tech magazine FashNerd are collaborating on an exhibition/experience that will focus on the fashion of the future. Designed as a bespoke walk in-closet, the event will showcase a lineup of fashion tech brands such as Wearable X, Lorna & Bel, Thesis Couture, Emel + Aris and Pyrates that demonstrate the potential and advantages of fashion tech.
In a press release about the event, Lorna, the founder of Lorna & Bel said:
”We see the fashion space as having limitless potential for all kinds of tech integration, big and small, especially with technology being so central to our lives. It is exciting to see brands integrating technology into fashion in fresh and innovative ways. The Wardrobe of the Future gives us a peek into how our wardrobes will evolve. It shows how fashion can put technology to work to give us performance-driven products that make our lives a little easier while still speaking the language of style.”
The event will go on until September 6th.
Lorna & Bel, bags with built in phone chargers.
Smart fabric clothing from Pyrates.
With the demise of several smart jewellery companies this year, it’s refreshing to see Swarg Tech’s new piece of smart jewellery Sahki, with its beautiful jewel embellishments. So what about the tech specs?
Well, apart from the fitness tracker and SOS trigger you see in most wearables, this one also has a child tracking mode and an integrated AI voice assistant to help you add items to your shopping list or switch on the lights for instance.
With the growing popularity of voice assistants, it is likely that the integration of them into smart jewllery might be a winning combo.