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Monday, 28 January 2013

Apple's New Shoes

A recently published patent application shows Apple's plan to develop an embedded sensor to measure repetitive activity.


The measurement of repetitive activity and the collected data could have multiple functions; were you to embed such a sensor in a pair of trainers it could for example notify you when a predetermined metric has been reached and you should be buying a new pair of shoes.

In the patent application Apple has proposed exactly that - a sensor for footwear that will track the wearers activity and be able to remind you via your iPhone or iPad that you should think of acquiring a new pair next week. The patent application, next to the "shoe wear-out sensor", further describes a "body-bar sensing system", "unitless activity assessment and associated methods".

The measurement and database of such activities could have various practical applications and possibly multiple implications for the production and retail sector.
As it is, the 'internet of things' is coming; sensors will be embedded into clothes and functional items, all with the possibility to share data with online databases. The use usefulness of these for daily tasks and routines could be immense. Apple's sensor could not only tell you when you should get new shoes, but could measure a child's daily activity or help doctors determine whether an injured leg is moving too much or too little to facilitate the best and quickest recovery. It would of course also open avenues into the fitness and bodybuilding market.

Embedded sensors seem like sensible development for Apple. Not only do they provide an opportunity to eventually produce vast amounts of accessories, but also the gathered data will be of huge financial value to the producing and retail industry.