May 14, 2009

Talking Shoes Linked Directly To Your Cell Phone

A start-up company seeks to answer the age old question, "Ever wonder what it's like to walk a mile in someone else's shoes?" A new shoe with insoles that record with any indication of pressure is in the developing stages, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.   

The trial product, which was developed by Scottsdale, AZ-based ESoles Inc., a company defined by their custom insoles for athletic shoes, consists of pressure sensors that transmit information wirelessly to a cell phone in close proximity.  At that point, an application on the phone can inform the wearer how much pressure is being applied in 11 different areas of each sole.

The U.S. Olympic BMX team has utilized the system to help examine their techniques, with the purpose of identifying how to apply the greatest power to the bicycle pedals just out of the gate, said Glen Hinshaw, founder of ESoles and a former professional cyclist.  Additionally, the system can evaluate a golf swing or skiing posture, Hinshaw elaborated. 

But the application of these insoles is not limited strictly to sports "“ they work equally in games.  ESoles is toying with a new jump rope game that will display a swinging rope on a phone screen, and users have to time their jumps to it.

"If you leave one leg on the ground and you're only lifting the other foot, the jump rope stops, because it's not clearing your foot," Hinshaw said.

ESoles' insoles function similarly to the balance board accessory made by Nintendo Co. for its Wii game console that senses the energy from the user's feet, but without restricting the user to an immobile board.

Hinshaw believes the insoles could potentially serve medical purposes.  In diabetes patients who have lost sensation in their feet, the insoles could forewarn of too much pressure that could cause injury. 

The company intends to release the insoles in an exclusive trial version in July, but then produce them fully commercial the latter part of this year, Hinshaw informed.    Initally, the price for the sensors are estimated for $300, but he hopes to decrease that to just under $50.  


On The Net:

ESoles Inc.