Source and Date: Washington Post published on March 14th about a collaboration between Levi’s and Google to create a sort of smart jacket.
Brief Summary: This smart jacket is aimed at those that ride their bikes to work and was released this month in Austin, Texas and is scheduled to be sold in stores this fall. The technology in the jacket “allows users to take phone calls, get directions and check the time, by tapping and swiping their sleeves.” The information would be transmitted through headphones in order to “keep [riders’] eyes on the road without having to fiddle with a screen.” The technology works in the jacket from a removable attachment on the cuff. It is being pitched as a stylish jacket with practical features, and not just as technology in clothing.
Smart watches were the beginning of “wearables” but have recently slowed in gains, mostly because the market is so saturated with different options. Companies are seeming to shift their focus from swanky technology to things that are fashionable first.
Fitbit and Apple have already begun to work with designers like Ralph Lauren and Under Armour in creating wearables. It is eye-catching that Levi’s has jumped on the wearables trend since it is such a classic and mainstream company.
Related to the Course: While there is no glaring ethical concern, this is certainly a new idea. This is technology growing and developing in a new direction, which is often seen as good and progressive. But could there come a time that we are too technologically intertwined? On the ethical side, there is research that shows social media can lead to negative feelings or add to depression, so while this product is not made to connect to social media, its reasonable that it could begin a trend in other products.
Opinion on the Issue: I think this could be the beginning of being too much. Technology is good but I think this is starting to cross the line. There is a lot of technology in our every day lives already, and I just think it would be scary to live a life where even riding our bikes becomes an online or technological experience. I think people won’t be able to disengage, and will constantly be connected which is not always a good things.
Discussion Question: With this being a pretty significant step in technology and development…
do you think there is a line that can be cross: can there be too much technology?
Do you think this smart jacket could be too much? Or the start of too much?