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Apple's smart shoes remind you to replace them

Posting in Design

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

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— By on January 24, 2013, 8:43 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure