Apple's smart shoes remind you to replace them

Summary:A new patent filed by Apple details shoe design set with sensors to keep an eye on how close they are to wearing out.

A new patent filed by Apple details shoe design set with sensors to keep an eye on how close they are to wearing out.

As reported by Apple Insider, a July 2012 patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) documents the design of a "Shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods."

The patent summary states:

"A body bar sensing system for sensing movement of a body bar may be provided. The body bar sensing system may include a housing having a coupling mechanism operative to couple to the body bar, a detector disposed within the housing and operative to sense movement of the body bar when the housing is coupled to the body bar, and a processor operative to determine a number of repetitions of the movement based on the sensed movement.

The body bar sensing system may also include a display operative to display the determined number of repetitions of the movement to a user."

These shoes, therefore, will not only be comfortable day wear, but also be stable enough to accommodate those training or taking place in sporting events -- similar to technology that companies including Nike and Adidas already use and promote.

However, as the shoes continue to be worn, the stabilizing elements wear out and become less effective, which results in less protection for the wearer and potential injury. In order to make users aware of this critical level of wear-and-tear, Apple's patent suggests that a sensor system can monitor these levels -- and then alarm the user to replace the shoes when necessary.

The sensors could be accelerometers, pressure monitors or flexing and activity sensors, which could be placed in the sole or heel. Once data is collected, based on the type of shoe and how much wear it can tolerate, an algorithm would then be used to calculate the "critical" level of use. The alarm itself could be created through an LED-powered display or sound.

(via Apple Insider)

Image credit: sling@flickr


This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.