As “smart” technologies continue to consume just about every aspect of our lives — from eating and doing laundry to turning on the lights and saving ourselves from drunken blackouts — you’d think we’re incapable of functioning in world without a device negotiating our every move.
But as someone who’s prone to wearing a pair shoes or boots until they fall apart, perhaps I’m in need of more smart interventions than I think. It seems Apple may have a foot in the door for doing so, especially on the heels of their recent patent application for “smart shoes.”
Rather than being equipped with a external tracker, the shoes would contain wear-out sensors that would alert you via Wi-Fi when it was time to get some new kicks.
“As a shoe wears, physical support provided by the shoe decreases, thereby reducing associated protection from injury,” the patent states. “When a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.”
The sensor, which would connect to your iOS device, would exist either as a thin layer built in to the sole or be located in the heel.
“In one embodiment, a shoe wear out sensor includes at least one detector for sensing a physical metric that changes as a shoe wears out, a processor configured to process the physical metric, over time, to determine if the shoe is worn out, and an alarm for informing a user of the shoe when the sole is worn out,” states the patent.
Considering Apple’s savvy for design, I’d be interested to see what’s on the drawing board, if in fact these are stand-alone shoes. After all, this pair could use a little work.
Photo: A pair of vintage white sneakers that were part of Apple’s line of employee-exclusive clothing. Credit: Imgur