The Smartshoe: Forget the Watches and Glasses, I Want Smart Feet!
Wearables have become one of the hottest categories of technology in recent memory. From watches to glasses to even the prospect of smart contact lenses, wearable tech is fast becoming the most sought-after devices for the modern consumer.
This makes the announcement of a new type of wearable tech such a noteworthy event: the smartshoe. Lechal, an Indian tech company started by Krispian Lawrence, and Anirudh Sharma, has developed what has been called the first “interactive haptic footwear” ever produced.
As Krispian Lawrence puts it: “The shoes are a natural extension of the human body. You will leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes.”
The shoes work by connecting to a smartphone or tablet, via Bluetooth, and sending vibrations that help direct you according to which app you are using. For example, suppose you plug the address of your favorite restaurant into the GPS app on your smartphone. As you walk the path to your destination, haptic feedback is triggered to indicate which way you should go.. If your right shoe vibrates, it is time to turn right.
The original purpose of the design of this device was to assist blind people in walking without outside assistance. While canes have traditionally held this role, the expanded capacity of a haptic feedback system could provide greater help than a cane ever could. Once testing was started in this area, its developers quickly realized the potential it also had for those with sight.
I think the real draw on these will exist in the realm of the younger folk. Shoes can be somewhat of a status symbol, with everyone always envying the kid with new Jordans every time they come out. Lechal’s smartshoe is pretty distinct looking, which could have kids clamoring for them based on their uniqueness alone.
However, if you are an adult not looking to wear something different than your normal fare on your feet, don’t fret! The component that actually does the vibrating is the insole, which can be removed. This allows you to put the insole in an existing pair of your shoes, thus reaping the benefits while avoiding a shoe style that you might not like.
Will Lechal’s smartshoe be something you expect to strap onto your feet when they are released? Let us know in the Comments section below!