New Google and Adidas smart insole can turn your soccer moves into FIFA rewards

After jackets and backpacks, Google is now bringing its Jacquard smart wearable tech to the football field. Google is teaming up with Adidas to launch a new connected insole that can track your soccer moves and turn them into digital rewards on EA’s FIFA Mobile game.

On the smart Levi’s jacket and the Yves Saint Laurent backpack, the Jacquard module lets you perform a handful of quick smartphone actions by touching the fabric. For the Adidas insole, — which is officially called GMR (pronounced “gamer”) — Google is using the second-gen Tag sensor that the company first introduced last year at its I/O developer conference.

The upgraded component is much smaller, allowing it to easily slip inside a tiny pocket on the insole. More importantly, it doesn’t need to be constantly paired with your phone so that you can leave your device behind in the dressing room. To do that, Google says it has managed to fit in a set of on-device machine learning algorithms that can process and collect your data and sync it back to your phone when you’re connected again.

The Adidas GMR comes also equipped with a range of sensors that can measure acceleration and angular rotations. Together with neural networks that are designed to detect soccer patterns, the insole can discern how powerful your kicks are (to differentiate between passes and goal shots) and how fast you’re running. Google claims it’s also smart enough to take advantage of the available power and battery only when you’re involved in an intense activity and not when you’re simply, for instance, walking.

“Jacquard is no longer just about the fabrics and the yarn and the connectivity through your sleeve. It’s really about bringing ambient computing to our users in a new way that’s familiar to them and the objects around them,” Dan Giles, product manager for Jacquard at Google told WIRED.

All of this data syncs with the Adidas GMR app where you can view your stats and insights. You can further link it with the EA FIFA Mobile iOS and Android game for earning in-game rewards and achievements. Once you’ve done, FIFA Mobile will even offer you special real-life challenges like kicking the ball a certain number of times.

For $40, Google will send you a pair of Adidas GMR insoles — one of which will have the Jacquard sensor and the other will carry a dummy clip so that it doesn’t affect your foot’s balance. There’s no word on availability yet.

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