Apple Making Smart Shoes

  • Filed back in July 2012
  • Only just approved today
  • Sensor and processor in the heel of a shoe

Apple has been granted a patent for chip-equipped smart shoes.

  • Filed back in July 2012
  • Only just approved today
  • Sensor and processor in the heel of a shoe

Apple has been granted a patent for chip-equipped smart shoes. The patent, which has the title "Shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods" was filed back in July 2012 but was only just approved today.

The new patent describes a method of placing a sensor and processor in the heel of a shoe, which it could use to alert the wearer of when the shoe is worn out and needs to be replaced. The sensor would detect and record a wearer's usage habits, so if a shoe is rated for 500 miles of running it would be able to track the runner's distance along with how vigorously they are hitting the pavement to accurately gauge the shoe's condition.

Moreover, it could detect other activities, such as weight lifting, using pressure sensors to get a more complete picture of when the shoe's sole is worn out that is tailored to athletes beyond just runners. For example, a basketball player puts unique pressure on his or her shoes from jumping and quick burst of sprinting and stopping. The sensor would detect all of those different actions and determine the shoe's condition using the cumulative data.

According to the patent, a worn out shoe would issue an alert using either a series of LED lights or through a wireless transmitter to an external display like a smartphone. With an external display all of the collected data could be available to the user, turning the smart shoe into an easy way to keep track of workouts without needing any external pedometer.

If successful, Apple could compete directly against Nike’s hugely successful Nike+ products.

Leave a Reply