Image source: Google

Google’s Project Jacquard returns with a $1,000 connected backpack

Google’s Project Jacquard is back with a high-end rucksack called YSL Cit-e Backpack. Developed in collaboration with Saint Laurent, it can control music, take pictures and more.

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google s project jacquard returns with a 1000 connected backpack 1 - Google's Project Jacquard returns with a $1,000 connected backpack
Image source: Google

Google’s first endeavor into the world of smart garments started back in 2015. The first result came two years later in the form of a connected jacket. Developed together with denim manufacturer Levi’s, the $350 Commuter Trucker Jacket contains a Bluetooth tag that wirelessly connects the conductive yarns in the jacket’s cuff.

Touching the tag in different ways allows users to send commands to their smartphone. For example, you can ask for directions, answer calls and control music playback, all with your phone safely tucked away. You also get notifications for incoming calls via haptic feedback and light.

Google is back now with a more practical product. The second entry in the company’s Jacquard lineup comes in the form of a smart rucksack.

YSL Cit-e Backpack is made of 100% nylon and measures 31cm wide, 41cm tall, and 22cm deep, in black colour only. The French luxury fashion house Saint Laurent signature is embossed on the exterior zip pocket. There’s also an interior key clip, cell phone pocket, zip compartment and a padded slot pocket. Pretty standard stuff so far. But this backpack goes further.

The left strap of the thing is integrated with Jacquard technology, enabling the backpack to respond to touch and tap gestures. This is also where a light indicator sits. It glows in different colors to let you know, for example, when you have a notification or left your phone behind. You also get a tactile nudge.

google s project jacquard returns with a 1000 connected backpack 2 - Google's Project Jacquard returns with a $1,000 connected backpack
Image source: Google

Other things you can do include controlling your phone’s camera, drop pins on the go, as well as pause music, skip a song, or hear the title of what is currently playing. You can also ask Google Assistant for updates on traffic, weather and news, and even define specific gestures for specific questions.

Rather cleverly the smarts that connect the backpack to the smartphone app are hidden in the Jacquard Tag. Google says the electronic component has now been reduced to the size of an SD card. Apart from you no-one will know this is anything but a normal designer rucksack.

Now for the bad news. A typical backpack will set you back less than $50 but this one goes for a hefty $995! Unless you have very deep pockets this is definitely not a purchase you will make off the cuff.

If the price has not sent you running in the opposite direction, YSL Cit-e Backpack is available for pre-order on ysl.com. The estimated shipping date is “no later than” October 15, 2019. For the rest of us, Google says it has plans to bring more affordable threads in the future.

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