FootStriker zaps you with electricity to improve your running technique

footstriker perfect running electricity 10575692 l
The idea of getting electric shocks to make us run better sounds like the kind of middle school nightmare our nerdy teenage selves might have had the night before gym class.

In fact, it’s the basis for a new device called FootStriker that was created by researchers at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Saarbrücken. The idea behind FootStriker is that it uses jolts of electricity to stimulate muscles as a means of correcting the angle of a person’s foot prior to it hitting the ground when they run. It figures out when you’re going to place your foot incorrectly based on pressure sensors in the shoe’s insole, and then gives a quick, instructive zap.

It seems to be effective, too, according to a test carried out by the researchers that involved six runners. In a 1 kilometer run without FootStriker, the average percentage of incorrect heel landings in the group was 95 percent. When the device was then switched on for the following 3 kilometers, that number fell dramatically to just 16 percent. For the final kilometer, FootStriker was then switched off again, and heel landings not only stayed low — but actually decreased to just 8 percent. As a result, the researchers concluded that the participants had learned the correct technique due to FootStriker.

To back this up, a control group without the device decreased their average number of heel strikes from an initial 97 percent to 80 percent over the course of the run.

The hope is that the technology could be used to improve technique among runners, particularly when it comes to reducing injuries that frequently result from landing on the wrong part of the foot.

The technology could also be applied to other sports to help participants learn how to correctly execute maneuvers. While there’s no word on when FootStriker might be available to purchase, it’s certainly the kind of thing we can imagine finding its way into future sports equipment.

You can check out the research paper describing the technology in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.


Exclusive: How Alienware dared to ditch black, boxy designs for something radical

A new gaming Legend is born this year. Alienware unveiled its new Aurora R9 desktop with the Legend design language. Join us as Alienware designers talk about Legend was conceived and what the new design means for gaming.

What is 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

The best Nintendo Switch games

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

How to care for your laptop’s battery and extend its life

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Eric Geusz: Apple engineer by day, spaceship designer by night

An Apple software engineer by day, artist Eric Geusz spends his nights drawing everyday household objects as amazing, science fiction-style spaceships. Check out the impressive results.
Emerging Tech

The black hole at the center of our galaxy is flaring and no one knows why

At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. Normally this giant monster is relatively docile, but recently it's been a hotbed of unexpected activity, rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal.
Emerging Tech

SpaceIL’s crashed lander may have sent thousands of tardigrades to the moon

When the SpaceIL craft Beresheet crashed into the moon earlier this year, it left more than just an impact mark. Thousands of micro-animals called tardigrades were along for the ride and may have survived the crash.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s satellite projects will study the sun using solar sailing

Small satellites can be used for all sorts of purposes, and NASA has been searching for ideas to push ahead the capabilities of the hardware. The agency has announced two new projects to demonstrate the potential of small satellites.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures a beautiful cosmic jellyfish made of glowing gas

A new image from Hubble might look like a deep-space jellyfish, but it's not a sign of extraterrestrial life - in fact, it's a planetary nebula called NGC 2022, located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe makes a second orbit of the sun, captures solar wind on video

The Parker Solar Probe, launched last year, has completed its second orbit around the sun. To celebrate, the team responsible for the probe has released a video showing solar winds in action.

Starman on Tesla Roadster makes first orbit around sun, braces for loneliness

Starman and his Tesla Roadster, sent by SpaceX to outer space last year, have completed their first orbit around the sun. The people on Earth may be able to catch a glimpse of the cherry-red electric vehicle on November 2020.
Emerging Tech

Wreckage, reefs, and robots: The high-tech quest to find Amelia Earhart’s plane

Over 80 years ago, American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared while trying to fly around the world. Now an autonomous water-based robot could help find some answers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Bernie Sanders calls for a ban on police use of facial recognition

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for a complete ban on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement as part of the new criminal justice reform plan he introduced this weekend.