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Apple files for patent on smart shoes with embedded sensors

Apple’s latest interest in wearable tech is for your feet. According to TechCrunch, the company filed a patent application for a “smart shoe” system with built-in sensors that could tell the wearer when the footwear needs to be replaced. Apple has several creative ideas for the gadgetry that could be incorporated into the shoes, listing pedometers, motion sensors, or activity sensors as possible inclusions. Any of those sensors would be able to track the wearer’s motions into units of time, so you could alert them when the shoes have surpassed the recommended 500 hours of use for a walking shoe. Another option for sensors would be a body bar, which also measures weight and resistance for a fuller picture of how the shoes are being used. 

The company suggested that the hardware could be housed in the heel of a shoe. Power could come from a built-in battery or an even a generator that translates the wearer’s movement into a recharging energy store. This isn’t Apple’s first patent application for high-tech clothing. In fact, it received a patent grant last year for sensors embedded in clothing to help track data about your workouts.

Whether it’s smart shoes that know when they are about to fall apart or a watch that can sync with your smartphone, wearable tech is a growing point of interest for both companies and consumers. Multiple companies, with Google leading the way, are developing augmented reality glasses. And the options for gadgets to track your heart rate, calories burned, and steps taken are enough to overwhelm dedicated exercisers. While there are plenty of major hurdles for manufacturers to overcome before wearing our computer on our sleeves becomes commonplace, it is clear that companies see this as a promising field. Wearable tech has at least generated enough attention for the big players to want to stake their claims on the components and basic ideas. 

Image via Jack Newton 

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