Being placed in a person’s shoe and expecting the device to function while the person is running causes the device to experience high amounts of stress on its components. The team explained that they had to do the industrial design in such a way that, while critical components are designed to be kept out of the way of stress from the device, sensors are still able to collect data from points where there is maximum pressure, while simultaneously ensuring that it does not affect other components and are shielded from pressure.
An important design challenge of this device was the existence of two wearable devices working in tandem—one sole on each foot. On the Cloud side, they needed to ensure a regular sync mechanism with the app, and at the same time ensure that all calculations on the app side get done within one or two seconds, so that information and guidance can be communicated to the user in real-time.
“Our end-goal was to design a product for runners, which is extremely non-intrusive and has a long battery life, but still provides the software component of the product with all the data that is needed to understand a runner’s form. For this purpose, we iterated over various existing solutions and finally had to invent our own solution. We have applied for a patent for it.”
On the software side, the team explained that defining the user-experience, so that the user could run without too many interruptions during a run, but get important information at the same time, was challenging. The design team worked with coaches, UI design experts and others to come up with an optimal solution.
How unique is it
There is currently no product in the market that does the same thing; closest products are Sensoria’s socksand runScribe. However, these devices only work on one foot and are comparatively limited in their guidance and injury-prevention advice.
The team has filed for a patent for the hardware design, architecture and the way data is collected. The innovation also includes the methodology to objectively decide optimal sensor placement for running as well as various other sports. “Our unique hardware architecture enables us to provide users with a battery life that is multiple times that of competitive products,” they claim.
The product was first launched on Kickstarter in December 2014. It was priced at US$ 90, without ExpertConnect add-on service or shipping costs.
Covered by over half-a-dozen in the first few weeks of its listing, this device could be a boon to every runner who understands the importance of correct training. In the words of Lynn Jennings, the first American woman to win a long-distance track medal in the Olympics, “If I am not out there training, someone else is.”