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Nike-Apple Smart Shoes

Category: Smart Objects

Nike and Apple have announced the Nike Plus line of shoes that integrate with an iPod Nano through an antenna that attaches to the iPod. As far as I can tell, the shoes broadcast telemetry and the Nano collects it and then downloads the data to software running on your computer as it syncs the music (which is grouped into playlist-based workouts). This may be the biggest commercial wearable computing project since the Adidas 1 robotic adaptive shoe (and, tangentially, an interesting departure from Nike's previous technology venture with Philips, which produced some MP3 players in the 90s--Nike + Apple clearly makes more sense brand-wise in today's market), and there are many more models than that product--which went from running shoe to basketball shoe in its latest incarnation.

The possibilities are, again, pretty interesting: because they broadcast (even if near-field) and probably broadcast with a unique ID (so that two people running together don't get each others' telemetry) these shoes could be used to track people in the panoptic scenario, but they could also produce a much more sophisticated pedometer. For example, why just sports shoes? Why not make a deal with Campers and give urban hipster iPod users an idea of whether they should have just walked home instead of taking the subway 10 blocks? Or Bruno Magli? Or why not do a version of Dance Dance Revolution without the pad? (well, OK, maybe just a simple two-leg hokey pokey version) I'm waiting for someone to hack it.


You guys should checkout the shoes that came out from Nike with Ipod applications. Nike and Apple coming together is a perfect combination and if this can motivate a healthier lifestyle than more power to them.

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