How touch screen jeans could change customer experience design forever.

By Marc Hummel

June 5, 2015

This is the first part in our series, Innovators in Customer Experience. In each installment, we'll showcase a different retailer who demonstrates a singular focus on improving the digital customer experience through breakthrough ideas, empathy, and technology.

The first brand in our showcase: Levi Strauss.

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Levi Strauss was founded in 1873, a pretty good year to start a business (53% of businesses founded in that year are still in business).

Yeah, we just cited Wikipedia. Deal with it.

Companies also started in 1873 that are still in business:

  • Coors (the beer)
  • Kohler (the faucets)
  • Konica (the cameras)
  • Epiphone (the guitars)
  • Ganong (Canada's largest candy company)
  • Norske Skog (a Norweigan paper mill; formerly Norske Skog Follum).

Anyway, Levi's has teamed up with Google to deliver touch screen jeansSort of.

Google’s woven touch sensor technology is based on a new way to make conductive fiber developed by [Ivan] Poupyrev and colleagues as part of an effort that Google is calling Project Jacquard. Conductive yarn was already on the market, but only in the color gray, he said. Google has developed a way to braid slim copper fibers with textile fibers of any color to make conductive yarn that can be used in existing fabric and garment factories just like yarns they use today, said Poupyrev.

“We want to make interactive garments at scale so everyone can make them and everyone can buy them,” he said. Poupyrev showed images of stretchable and semi-transparent fabrics with the touch-detecting yarn woven in.

Check out this video for more about the technology from the designers themselves:

[youtube="https://youtu.be/qObSFfdfe7I"&w=620]

This technology could be way more than just another way to interact with your phone. The ability to interact with our devices through everyday items like our clothes brings the possibilities of interactivity to a whole new level.

Food retailers could sell canvas tote bags with screen-printed images of frequently ordered items. Picture a grid of icons featuring your favorite food items. When you're out of milk, just swipe your finger over the milk icon in a "check" motion to automatically add it to your shopping list for the week.

With this technology, touch functionality could be added to any fabric: chairs, jeans, t-shirts, bags, floor carpeting, hats... the possibilities are endless. Imagine what you would do with this technology if you were a ski resort that sold connected winter jackets. Or a swim club that sold connected beach towels.

What cool customer experience innovations can you imagine creating with this new wearable technology? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

[Tweet "Touch screen jeans: the next #CX frontier?"]

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

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