If you describe your car as a smart device, everyone, except Elon Musk, might look at you with a demanding attitude. But the modern car is really one, Ivan Poupyrev points out: “It has internet, maps, artificial intelligence and people you can talk to.” Poupyrev, Google’s Director of Engineering, Technology, and Advanced Products and the mastermind behind its Jacquard project, is working to make the same seamless integration with the wearable devices he’s helping to make now. real. The aptly named initiative injects technology into everyday fashion items, aiming not to produce a gimmicky “wearable technology” device but to “make technology transform lost, for people to live their normal lives, [with] technology becoming something in the background.”
Poupyrev was inspired to create Jacquard after thinking about how storing a smartphone in your coat pocket turns clothing, in a sense, into technology. “So why can’t the jacket do more than that?” he asked himself. In his hands, clothing becomes an excess: The cuffs of Levi’s truck jackets are capable of answering calls; Straps on Saint Laurent backpacks can drop Google Maps location pins. (In June, Google Cloud and LVMH announced an AI and cloud-based partnership focused on LVMH maisons, which is expected to see more fashion tech innovations ahead.)
Collaboration doesn’t just stop at designer brands. Earlier this year, the tech giant worked with residents of Champions Place, a living community for youth with disabilities, to get feedback on how smart clothing — such as a jacket, allows you to make an emergency call — can solve their need.