At yesterday’s Lenovo Tech World event in San Francisco came some interesting announcements for the realm of wearable technology.
Lenovo Smart Shoes
Lenovo’s smart running shoes are equipped with the Intel Curie chip, something that’s being adopted by several brands and is going to start making waves in all sorts of sports.
The connected kicks probably won’t be available anytime soon, although they are a finished prototype. It’s likely Lenovo are waiting until the smart apparel sector has ripened some more before putting them into production. Releasing a product before the consumer market is ready for it is often the difference between success and failure. 2017 will be the year that connected footwear finds its feet, and smart clothing with biometric feedback will start getting noticed in gyms.
Lenovo’s clever kicks don’t deliver the same in-depth running metrics as the likes of TUNE from Kinematix. They look pretty clever for fitness though, tracking steps , calorie output, distance traveled and workout duration. There are also training modes which track different exercises such as squats, standing leg lifts and vertical leg crunches.
The outside of the soles and heels light up. We’re not exactly sure why yet, we think the lights may sync with your movement/steps possibly to indicate your level of balance. There’s also talk of foot gestures and music interaction, again we’re not too clear on exactly what this means, but it sounds pretty..
A companion training app allows you to control the lighting as well as providing insights into your routines. It also contains interactive games, goals, fitness competitions and health tips.
Inside the smart shoes are 3D-printed insoles, so you can print your own custom sizes – if you have access to a 3-D printer of course. The shoes are placed into a charging dock for wireless charging.
In addition to tracking steps and calories, and glowing of course; the shoes can be used as game controllers, as Lenovo demonstrated by hooking them up to a smartphone running game where the feet are used to control movement.
Looking at a smartphone to see your stats while running isn’t exactly ideal, for obvious reasons such as banging into a lamp-post or your phone meeting its doom on the concrete. Syncing a pair of smart running shoes to a smartwatch makes far more sense. Last year Lenovo unveiled their Magic View smartwatch with dual screens. A hunch tells me that Lenovo’s shoes might be designed to work pretty smoothly with their watch.
Lenovo have also been showing off their bendy Android smarphone called Cplus that doubles up as a watch by folding around your wrist – possibly a good match with the running shoes.
This isn’t the first time the tech mammoths have expressed their ambitions for future footwear. Tech World 2015 saw the Chinese firm unveil a pair of connected kicks with fitness tracking capabilities and embedded screens on the sides to display your metrics, directions and more. We haven’t heard too much about them since though.
Connected footwear, smart shoes, or whatever you want to call them, are going to be big time! Will they be bigger than wrist-worn fitness trackers? I reckon.. Will they make wrist-worn fitness trackers extinct? I don’t think so..