Sunday, December 08, 2013
Smart Shoe: The race is on
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems have developed a specialized running shoe with sensors and microelectronics to help prevent future injuries. The electronics are integrated into the sole of the shoe to help measure the biomechanical data of the athlete and also evaluate the runner’s form in real-time. Pulse-rate watches and chest straps record only vital signs like breathing and heart rate. In contrast, the running shoe medically evaluates and monitors training while jogging. It informs the runner of incorrect foot position, asymmetric loading, or warns of exhaustion or overload. The measurement system can be installed and removed from the soles of the shoes fairly easily. The pair of shoes can also be charged by simply hooking them up to the charger. Using bluetooth technology to help transmit data like the runner’s speed and location. The new kicks also include technology like accelerometers and GPS sensors to help capture the biomechanical signals from the body. All of the data can be transmitted through Bluetooth to the runner’s smartphone through an app that evaluates the data in a split second with the help of special algorithms that give the athlete feedback on training performance. The application can also help give runners suggestions about their running form or their training routine to help prevent injury. The biomechanical data is also transferred during the run from the smartphone to a website for further processing, evaluation and display. Runners can set a customized training program based on this data with personalized performance goals that are constantly updated. The team said they are currently working on another version of the microelectronics and sensors in order to make the shoes waterproof, light and more durable. The team said the high-tech shoes will be available for sale by the beginning of 2015.