IoT shoes can adapt to individual users and be controlled via a smartphone

Posted on 16 Jan 2019 by Maddy White

Global sportswear manufacturer, Nike, has launched a pair of self-lacing trainers that can adapt to the unique shape of the wearer’s foot and can be controlled via a smartphone.

The shoes can be customised to an individual - image courtesy of Nike.
The shoes can be customised to an individual – image courtesy of Nike.

According to the sportswear company, the needs of the foot change at any given time based on the sport, its duration and on specific movements.

When users put on the IoT shoes, a custom motor and gear reportedly sense the tension needed by the foot and adjust.

Users are able to input different fit settings for different moments in sports games, loosening during breaks and tightening before they begin to play.

According to Nike, over the course of a professional sports game, for example basketball, it is not unusual for the foot to expand almost half a size. A level of fit that feels comfortable at one point, could potentially feel constrictive just half an hour later.

Athletes can then choose to share data collected on the app with the international sports business.

IoT in sports: wireless smart insole

It is not the first example of IoT in sports. Last year, UK-based sports innovation company, SportScientia unveiled a wireless smart insole designed to significantly enhance the performance of football players.

The global innovation company based in Britain and Singapore, specialises in the collection and interpretation of dynamic biometric performance data from proprietary wearable sports technology.

The project saw SportScientia design, fabricate, and 3D print a range of insoles. The wireless 3D printed smart insoles collect real-time data to learn a player’s constant baseline by analysing their training load distribution, recovery, and performance.

This data can then be used by the player, coach and physiotherapist to live monitor, predict and prevent injuries from grassroots all the way up to elite professional level.

IoT tech from sports improves manufacturing

The body-tracking technology records movement via four specialised motion-tracking cameras that capture a 3D skeletal character animation of the user - image courtesy of Ford.
The body-tracking technology records movement – image courtesy of Ford.

Sports’ IoT technology has also improved manufacturing. Plant employees at Ford Valencia Engine Assembly trialled a special suit last year with numerous sensors that monitor movement and help to promote good posture.

The technology is more typically used by sports’ coaches to ensure sports stars’ skills are maximised; it is also used to replicate players movements in video games.

The IoT technology works by movement being recorded via four specialised motion-tracking cameras that capture a 3D skeletal character of the user.

Ergonomic experts then use the data collected to help employees align their posture correctly. Specific measurements captured by the system, for example an employee’s height or limb length, are then used to design workstations, to better fit employees.

Introducing IoT technology that includes ergonomic concepts, in sports, manufacturing or any industry, can contribute improved productivity and performance. It is therefore important to develop and implement these solutions to boost playing ability, and allow production operations to be more suited to individuals.

Smart Factory Expo is Europe’s largest digital manufacturing show – presenting the most extensive free programme of presentations across seven stages, 150+ exhibitors, and thousands of digitally-savvy manufacturers.

It is the largest component of Digital Manufacturing Week, an annual celebration of UK manufacturing excellence that takes place every November in Liverpool. This year saw 5,322 visitors to Digital Manufacturing Week (up 36% on 2017).

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