Your socks are dumb. Sensoria’s smart socks are not.
At this point, I thought I was immune to seeing technology incorporated into wearable items. Smartwatches? Okay. Bizarre cyborg glasses? Sure. Wi-Fi T-shirts? I love it, get outta here! So when Sensoria sent me an email describing its "fitness technology socks," I pretty much immediately had to find out more. Because...high-tech socks. C’mon. Who wouldn’t want to know more about that?
Here’s what I found out: Sensoria Fitness's Smart Socks are patent-pending wearable tech designed to not only track your steps, speed, and distance, but also to track the weight distribution of the foot while you’re walking, running, or standing. The Smart Socks can also benchmark and analyze your performance, meaning they can tell you when you’re, say, running with more weight on your heels, or favoring your left leg because your knee is sore.
The socks themselves, which have been under development for two years, have sensors under the plantar area of your foot that activate every time you take a step. They send data to the attachable Sensoria Anklet, an activity tracker that records your activity type and level, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. There is, of course, also a companion app that can track how far and fast you’ve run, how many calories you’ve burned, and more.
With an estimated 25 million runners in the U.S. alone (according to Sensoria’s video), and with 60 percent of them being injured every year, it makes sense to have a fit tech item designed to help with recovery and prevention.
When I spoke to CEO Davide Vigano, he told me that the Heapsylon team (who all have a background in Microsoft and Kinect technology) were interested in injecting computing technology into clothing in a transparent way, so users could get data on their health without having to remember to wear or include a separate fitness tracker. He also spoke about the difficulty in designing the socks, which are manufactured using embedded sensors and a conductive yarn. The conductive yarn communicates data to the anklet, and from there to your smartphone. The socks are, of course, washable and dryable just like regular socks. The micro electric anklet device attaches magnetically to the socks and includes an accelerometer, a battery, and low-energy Bluetooth.
Once ready, the Sensoria system (socks, anklet, and app) can act as a personal coach to tell your stride, length, and strikes per minute as well as detailed information on your rhythm and how you’re running. Sensoria is launching an Indiegogo campaign today, and expects to open up a set of APIs for developers so the technology can be incorporated into other uses—golfers for example, could benefit from knowing how they’re shifting their weight, while soccer players could incorporate the sensors into their shin guards.
Sensoria is also looking into integrating temperature sensors to tell the user the right time to run, to use GPS data in the phone to provide altitude measurements, and would also like to partner with Strava, RunKeeper, and other popular apps depending on customer demand. “The feet are constantly under pressure and constantly underserved by available technology,” says Vigano, and Sensoria Fitness’s Smart Sock is obviously making strides to correct that.