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A Running Shoe For Agent 86?

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the who-throws-a-shoe? dept.

Software 356

manganese4 writes "The New York Times (free reg. req.) is reporting on a new shoe from Adidas that contains a ~10KHz chip capable of changing the shoe's characteristics to meet the runner's need. From the article: 'Adidas executives say the shoe is no gadget-dependent gimmick... Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use. The shoes will have push-button controls, light-emitting diodes to display settings and an instruction manual on a CD-ROM that will advise wearers on, among other things, how to change the battery after every 100 hours of use.' I wonder if the CPU can be overclocked?"

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356 comments

Yeah (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071091)

But does it run linux?

Re:Yeah (0, Redundant)

ChanxOT5 (542547) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071142)

Oh no, I think this is actually called for.

In Soviet Russia, Sneaker runs on Linux!

while we're modding up stupid shit (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071149)

In Soviet Russia, Linux runs IT!

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071216)

guess i missed the boat on that one.

Re:Yeah (1)

swordfishBob (536640) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071189)

According to /. title, it's for x86, but not sure which generation.

At least at that speed it won't need a heatstink.

oops.

Haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071092)

FP?

Maybe?

Imagine... (5, Funny)

Unipuma (532655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071093)

.. the stench of a Beowulf cluster of these things....

Re:Imagine... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071242)

The Boston Marathon could become an exercise in distributed computing :)

Re:Imagine... (5, Funny)

Excen (686416) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071271)

Forget about the smell, imagine the chaos you could cause at the Boston Marathon with a good virus!

What, no Bluetooth connection to the wristwatch? (4, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071094)

You can't tune the thing while running? That is so lame.

Durability over Lifetime? (5, Interesting)

AlaskanUnderachiever (561294) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071095)

Wow! The durability of a computer in a shoe!

Does anyone else thing it's a bad idea to throw these sorts of components into something that's going to take a few hundred thousand 100kg (or more depending on speed/weight/height) impacts?

It's just another imbedded system (5, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071135)

Make it solid state and durable. You should have no problems with something that amounts to little more than a processor, battery, some flash memory and some sensors.

There are far more stressful environments for computers in military and industrial settings.

Re:Durability over Lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071136)

Dude it isn't like someone put a minature version of your laptop inside a shoe.

Re:Durability over Lifetime? (1)

eco2geek (582896) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071229)

Does anyone else thing it's a bad idea to throw these sorts of components into something that's going to take a few hundred thousand 100kg (or more depending on speed/weight/height) impacts?

Forget about the solid state electronics...how's that tiny motor going to hold up under the stress?

Crazy runners... (5, Funny)

sn0wcrash (223995) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071096)

These running fanatics have a screw loose. They spend a fortune on these fancy shoes looking to improve their perfomance. Yet they always get beaten by some guy from Africa that's never even owned a pair of shoes.

Re:Crazy runners... (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071160)

Reminds me of a Jack Handey:

Once I wept for I had no shoes. Then I came across a man who had no feet, so I took his shoes. I mean, it's not like he really needed them.

Re:Crazy runners... (5, Funny)

antic (29198) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071219)


Never criticise a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Then, you'll be a mile away, and you'll have his shoes! ;)

Re:Crazy runners... (-1, Offtopic)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071170)

Dude, that cracked me upto no end!

Just friended you, thanks for a good laugh!

Re:Crazy runners... (4, Informative)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071181)

I don't think very many serious runners would buy these shoes. A lot of people I know who are serious runners (marathon etc.) have a hard enough time detaching themselves from their old worn down shoes. When they do buy new shoes, they know what they need for their feet and terrain; they don't need a chip to tell them what they already know.

These high-tech shoes seem like something that would appeal more to the wannabes. It's their money, so...

And... (0, Insightful)

crsgrg (189291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071098)

Still no cure for cancer...

Re:And... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071162)

How about searching for a cure for cancer AND creating these cool gaggets?

Stop thinking in DOS and think in Linux.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071265)

Meanwhile, you post on /. and think in neither.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071281)

and where are you posting on?

Re:And... (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071238)

how about finding the cure instead of wasting time on /. ?

if you're too stupid to help find a cure, you could have worked some overtime and donated money instead.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071277)

Hmm three whole minutes before the first "still no cure for cancer" troll. You guys are slipping.

Nice shoe, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071099)

but does it run Linux?

Re:Nice shoe, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071226)

Did you notice that the other guy that posted this same thing got modded +2 funny? you got -1 offtopic. Ending your subject with a comma is bad ettiquite. n00b

Sport Legality? (4, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071101)

In things like track competitions or marathons, should such 'active' measures be allowed? I mean, what if I had a pair of smart shoes that were attached to a motorcycle...

Re:Sport Legality? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071147)

Fuck off idiot.

Re:Sport Legality? (4, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071267)

...what if I had a pair of smart shoes that were attached to a motorcycle...

Then you'd probably be dragged to your death.

Human feet (5, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071102)

Human feet have thousands upon thousands of sensor sites and they feed back information to the brain which can process all the information in parallel and recognize even the slightest change in environment and adjust accordingly.

So bare feet are better than these new shoes.

Re:Human feet (4, Funny)

beeplet (735701) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071192)

Quite true, but given the choice between having my shoes adjust to stepping on a rock or having my feet do it the old-fashioned way by sending thousands of pain signals to my brain, I think I'll go with the shoe...

Re:Human feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071195)

.. until you step on a piece of glass while running barefoot. Ouch!

Re:Human feet (4, Informative)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071204)

You're in on something there. There are quite a few elite runners who train/compete barefoot. For example, Abebe Bikila [ethiopians.com] won his first Olympic marathon running barefoot, and broke the world record.

Here's another interesting site regarding barefoot running/marathoning [runningbarefoot.org].

Re:Human feet (2, Informative)

shird (566377) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071241)

And do they adjust by giving you more support under the arch of your foot, or increasing the 'suspension' under your heel? You might adjust the way you plant your foot down, but you cant dynamically physically change the support around your foot.

When it's hacked. (4, Funny)

fuqqer (545069) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071103)

Rather than kids tying another's laces together, well have them hacking in and turning someone soles rock hard for the day.

A battery on a running shoe. Think about this... (5, Interesting)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071106)

Couldnt they have talked to Swatch or something? Why the hell should a running shoe need a battery? I mean, that's the whole point.. you RUN in them! Kinetic energy, right there! FREE for the taking!

Yeah sure (5, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071143)

If you're running forward!

No one's going to buy a shoe you can't walk backwards in.

Re:Yeah sure (5, Funny)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071221)

If you're running forward!

No one's going to buy a shoe you can't walk backwards in.

I take it this means that they wouldn't be backward compatible? I wonder what sort of boot process they have.

Re:A battery on a running shoe. Think about this.. (5, Insightful)

Krashed (264119) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071150)

I totally agree with this. Think of the ways they could have produced power from this. piezo-electric with the vibrations and stomping on the ground (which would probably absorb some of the shock anyway), stirling (or whatever creates changes energy between the heat difference) due to the foot getting hot (which may cool it down some), the swatch thing (a swinging weight with attached magnet to charge a capacitor).
You know what really would have been badass. If they added bluetooth capability between it and a pda so you can track your workouts wirelessly. Then create a bluetooth heart rate monitor with a watch that would intergrate the entire system. You could modify your step and check your heart rate at the same time. I should start working on the patent...

Re:A battery on a running shoe. Think about this.. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071240)

A serious runner would not use a shoe that absorbed any kinetic energy, doesn't matter if the amount is insignificant, the problem would be psychological, thinking that their shoe was taking power from their stride

Re:A battery on a running shoe. Think about this.. (4, Informative)

btempleton (149110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071249)

Any shoe that's not a perfect device is taking power from your stride, compressing and expanding the rubber etc.

The only issue is whether you can get some electricity, rather than just heat, from this work. And not increase the total work in a way that would be noticed.

There were some projects to make battery chargers in shoes I recall, but they couldn't actually get as much power as they had hoped from pezio. Springs probably would be noticed.

Re:A battery on a running shoe. Think about this.. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071285)

I never said the amount of power taken would be physically meaningful, the problem would be in the runners minds, they would either refuse to wear it or be discouraged thinking power will be taken to power the unit, now if they included a "battery" and a notice that the battery would probably last longer than the shoe, and thus not to worry about it, along with a piezio or kinetic system the shoe would be great.

Funny maths? (2, Interesting)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071107)

A 10KHz chip sounds like a nice low power solution for a running shoe.

Assuming that is the clock rate, 20,000 readings and 10,000 calculations per second does sound a bit excessive, especcialy as the calculations must involve at least 2 readings.

Re:Funny maths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071180)

Yeah, I was thinking that myself, pretty good deal getting two (analog?) readings per clock.

Since there are nominally two shoes per user, does this count as SMP?

John

Google link. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071108)

Look, ma! no hands! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071227)

May 6, 2004
The Bionic Running Shoe
By MICHEL MARRIOTT

ORTLAND, Ore.

SHOES have long been sensible. Now some are getting smart.

Smart enough, that is, to sense their environment electronically, calculate how best to perform in it, and then instantly alter their physical properties to adapt to that environment. In short, the designers say, shoes that can do whatever is needed to deliver improved athletic performance or just a better experience in the ancient poetry of feet striking the earth.

"The whole concept of an intelligent shoe would be great," said Christian DiBenedetto, a scientist here at the North American headquarters of Adidas. "Something that would change to your different needs during a marathon, or whatever you were doing, was always the fantasy."

Adidas, the 83-year-old German sporting-goods maker, is about to turn that fantasy into biomechanical reality in the form of a running shoe for men and women. Sleek and lightweight despite its battery-powered sensor, microprocessor and electric motor, the shoe, named 1, is expected to be in stores by December and will cost $250.

Adidas executives say the shoe is no gadget-dependent gimmick. Instead, its designers say it represents a leap forward in wearable technology. Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use.

"What we have, basically, is the first footwear product that can change its characteristics in real time," said Mr. DiBenedetto, who led the group that created the shoe, of its ability to adapt its cushioning as the wearer runs.

The shoes will have push-button controls, light-emitting diodes to display settings and an instruction manual on a CD-ROM that will advise wearers on, among other things, how to change the battery after every 100 hours of use.

Of all items of clothing, said Rob Enderle, a principal analyst for the Enderle Group in San Jose, Calif., the shoe is a logical one to be a focus of wearable technology. Unlike articles of clothing that must be washed or cleaned, shoes present a more stable place to add useful electronics, he said.

High-performance shoes, particularly those intended for athletic use, he said, have been augmented with an array of biomechanical enhancements, most of them involving compressed gases, shock absorbers and springs. But until now, he said, "I don't recall electronics being applied in shoes other than for lights."

From the start of development in early 2001, the shoe was viewed as an opportunity for Adidas to innovate, said Steve Vincent, who leads the company's worldwide innovation team of about 50 people. Mr. DiBenedetto's group is one of seven in Germany, Italy and the United States that work in such secrecy that the units' names are not mentioned to outsiders. To do otherwise, Mr. Vincent said from his corner office overlooking the Willamette River, "would just give away the farm."

In the hypercompetitive sporting-goods industry, of which the $15 billion sneaker market is only a part, innovation is seen more and more as a great differentiator. And while other companies, like Nike in nearby Beaverton, Ore., have made a name for themselves with new products, Mr. Vincent acknowledged that Adidas had not established a firm reputation as an innovator in the American market.

"We look at innovation as the fuel for our company," he said. "We are committed to deliver at least one new impactful technology or innovation every year."

Among the first of those products was ClimaCool, a line of athletic shoes and garments introduced in 2002 that use sophisticated materials and strategically placed venting to relieve the wearer's heat and perspiration. Others include a soccer ball that is bonded rather than hand-sewn for better durability and truer flight, and a shoe engineered to kick it faster and farther, as well as a swimsuit that uses computer-assisted design and wind-tunnel testing to take advantage of fluid dynamics.

The latest creation, and the first to incorporate digital technology, is the 1 running shoe. Outside the shoe's development group, which seldom grew beyond seven designers, engineers, researchers and testers, few people ever saw the shoes as they took shape.

"We used to keep them taped up," said Mark A. Oleson, a 29-year-old electromechanical engineer, who with Mr. DiBenedetto, 38, formed the core of the group.

And because Mr. Oleson has a size-9 foot, the size of most shoe prototypes, he also became its chief tester, running the hallways of the innovation team's bright, airy building and the lush green neighborhoods that surround it.

But the challenge was melding a shoe with technology in a new way.

The first thing Mr. DiBenedetto and his group had to learn was whether there was an ideal range of cushioning for runners. Cushioning is the shoe's means of smoothly decelerating the runner's foot when the heel strikes the ground. If the compression is too hard, the foot slows too quickly and the shock is felt in the runner's knees, said Mr. DiBenedetto, whose background is in mechanical and aeronautical engineering. If the cushioning is too soft, the foot "bottoms out," he said, striking the ground too hard, also stressing the knees.

Mr. DiBenedetto said he was surprised to learn that no one had ever precisely measured cushioning compression while a shoe was in use. To do that, he and Mr. Oleson inserted a sensor about the size of a sparrow's eye into the top of the heel of a standard Adidas running shoe, and a magnet smaller than a dime in the bottom of the heel, creating a magnetic field that the sensor could measure. As the heel was compressed, the sensor, known as a Hall sensor, measured the corresponding changes in the magnetic field strength to a tenth of a millimeter, 1,000 times a second.

To retrieve the data, the group also had to design and build a data logger to gather and store the information and then transfer it to a computer for analysis. After much trial and error, the group had a sensor and data logger small and powerful enough to be snapped onto the tongue of a sneaker.

During their first months of research, Mr. DiBenedetto and Mr. Oleson said they taught themselves to make their own circuit boards and solder components onto them. Mr. DiBenedetto, a former toy maker and designer of air intake and exhaust systems on highly classified aircraft projects for Lockheed, said the group began buying and dissecting motorized toys.

The Hasbro electronic toy creature known as Furby helped them better understand the kinds of tiny electric motors and switches they might need for the shoe. A skinned Furby sat on the edge of a table in Mr. DiBenedetto's work space.

Once the group had a reliable "sensor shoe," it set a number of them at various cushioning levels and invited testers to select the pair of shoes they found most comfortable. Then they ran in them.

"They'd come back and we'd download the data, and what we started to see was that everyone was picking a shoe that got them to the same range of compression," Mr. DiBenedetto recalled.

That led his group to write mathematical language that enabled the shoe's embedded 20-megahertz computer continually to ensure that the cushioning was ideal for the runner and the situation.

Next the group faced the issue of how to make a shoe adapt while it is being worn. The solution was a hollow engineered plastic cushion with metal support brackets. When the shoe's motor adjusted the tension on a stainless steel cord that ran through the flexible heel, the heel responded just the way Mr. DiBenedetto and Mr. Oleson wanted.

Mr. Enderle, the analyst, predicted that even at $250 a pair, shoes that use digital technology effectively are likely to find a market. Fortunately for Adidas, he said, "a lot of people who run - business executives and the rest - do have the money and love having the latest cutting-edge shoe that apply technology to make the running experience better."

I hope (1, Funny)

abaybas (630833) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071109)

microsoft has nothing to do with the OS in these shoes, or soon we'll see people running of bridges because their shoe (crashed, got hacked into) bah

what a gimmick (5, Insightful)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071110)

Please. I mean, this is like saying the Reebok Pump was "analog technology capable of generating an infinite number of support positions." GIMMICK. Nothing more. But get a famous basketball player to endorse it, charge $200 for it, and it'll fly off the shelves.

Re:what a gimmick (4, Informative)

glaHHg (468427) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071165)

Tell me about it. Here's all the detailed info on what it actually does, straight out of the article:

alters its physical properties
would change to your different needs
change
adjust
changes its characteristics
adapts its cushioning

Hmmm so wtf does it actually do?? Looks like the same thing the pump does but without the pump.

Sport Legal? (4, Insightful)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071111)

I've only ever seen passive electronics in sports equipment; this shoe won't be legal in most professional sports.

Re:Sport Legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071177)

What about skiis with piezo electric bindings?

Re:Sport Legal? (1)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071199)

Exactly, those are passive. Other component that could be used are resistors, capacitors and inductors. Adding a computer into the mix makes it active.

Re:Sport Legal? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071250)

no, the battery makes it active, if the system is powered and controlled by it's environment it is a passive system, if it does shit on it's own it is active

Re:Sport Legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071252)

Maybe they will just ban coaches controlling the shoes mid-race by radio? Like in F1, one-way telemetry only...

Google Link (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071116)

Here [google.com]

Just imagine a........ (0, Redundant)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071117)

A beowolf cluster of.....

Oh well, at least it would not take long to BOOT!

Has anybody started a Linux port yet?

'Get Smart' gadgets I'd like to see (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071118)

Frankly, I'd rather have a "Cone of silence" to put certain people in...

And since phone booths are going out of style, I guess we need a cellphone that can also act as a hidden trapdoor to our lair?

Good for astroturf use (4, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071121)

So... a 10KHz chip can make 10,000 calculations per second? Sure, as long as all those calculations take only 1 clock cycle each. And what good is a sensor that can take 20,000 samples per second if the CPU isn't powerful enough to even make use of all of them?

Honestly, what's the point? If the goal is to change the shoe characteristics, why not include a little adjustable screw so the wearer can manually change various tensions? This sounds like a lousy solution in search of a problem, and a badly marketed one at that.

Replace the batteries? (0, Troll)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071129)

Why not have some kind of pump (I mean, you have a cushion anyways) to recharge them?

Smell my shoes (3, Funny)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071137)

Of all items of clothing, said Rob Enderle, the shoe is a logical one to be a focus of wearable technology. Unlike articles of clothing that must be washed or cleaned, shoes present a more stable place to add useful electronics, he said.

Mr. Enderle has obviously never been in the vicinity of _my_ shoes.

Re:Smell my shoes (1)

Koguma (608998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071153)

Mine go right in the wash. Hope that motor can adjust for that. Hey, what if the battery leaks while you're running a marathon and your feet get burnt?

Does it have an ASS sensor? (2, Funny)

Koguma (608998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071139)

That would come in usefull so it doesn't get stuck. Maybe the motor can adjust for the perfect anal trajectory?

overclocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071140)

so, if you run a marathon in this shoe while it is overclocked do you have to run faster and end up with a slower time?

Where do I put the cd rom in the shoe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071146)

Does it go on the sides like a modern version of the chariot in Ben Hur?

Re:Where do I put the cd rom in the shoe (1)

Koguma (608998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071175)

" Does it go on the sides like a modern version of the chariot in Ben Hur?"

Maybe that's what the slot in your PJ's is for?

wrong icon (4, Funny)

chrispy666 (519278) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071168)

Geez, the ONE time the foot icon would actually make sense, it is not even used by /. editors...
I guess I know where to stick my foot next time...

Re:wrong icon (1)

chendo (678767) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071188)

Um. Up their ass?

Re:wrong icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071200)

...eh... depends...
is the OS of those shoes written in F SHARP ?

A condom for /. users? (3, Funny)

Koguma (608998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071169)

The New York Times (free reg. req.) is reporting on a new condom from goatse.cx that contains a ~10KHz chip capable of changing the condom's characteristics to meet the user's need. From the article: 'Goatse.cx executives say the condom is no gadget-dependent gimmick... Each second, a sensor in the tip can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shape. The goal is to make the condom adjust to changing conditions and the user's particular style while in use. The condom will have push-button controls, light-emitting diodes to display settings and an instruction manual on a CD-ROM that will advise wearers on, among other things, how to change the battery after every 100 hours of use.' I wonder if the CPU can be overcocked?

Sweet (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071173)

If these have LEDs now, I'm sure the next 11 years will give researchers plenty of time to add power laces [ketzer.com] and a voice chip that sounds like Stephen Hawking's.

last time is saw this (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071196)

it was called the pump.. rememebr that.. pump it up.. then some kind would come by and press the release button.. ah memories...

It'll be no good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071198)

...until they understand the phrase "Go-go Gadget Skates!"

Of course, the correct reply for this is for a propeller to then come out of my hat, but I don't expect such perfection the first time around.

Top ten reasons not to buy these shoes (1)

TheMadPenguin (662390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071203)

1. Change the battery every 100hrs????
2. Change the battery every 100hrs????
3. Change the battery every 100hrs????
4. Change the battery every 100hrs????
5. Change the battery every 100hrs????
6. Change the battery every 100hrs????
7. Change the battery every 100hrs????
8. Change the battery every 100hrs????
9. Change the battery every 100hrs????
10. Ahh screw it...

On another note, if Longhorn is gonna need a TB of disk space, what the hell will my shoes be running in 2008? I mean, does it really take that much power to run solitaire? Surely my shoes will require more, right? And furthermore, how long with that battery last?!?!

I'm going outside to run [thewaxmonkey.com]

A.D.I.D.A.S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071205)

All Day I Dream About Software

motor? (2, Insightful)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071206)

tiny electric motor? with a drivetrain? that wouldn't be my first thought... seems like they could make the sole out of something spongelike containing magnetorheological fluids [nasa.gov] and some electomagnets to vary the stiffness and sponginess

Overclocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071207)

Overclocked, huh?

Where will this take us? Where ever it is, at least we will get there faster..

There's no business like shoe business.

Overclocking? (1)

GrueMaster (579195) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071209)

Theoreticly, it would be possible, but you'd have to run faster, and if your heat dissipating socks lost contact with your shoes, they'd burn up.

Start worrying when... (2, Funny)

NTmatter (589153) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071211)

they ask "Where do you want to go today?" when you boot (shoe?) up. This message has been brought to you by MicroShoe FooTware.

with all this technology and... (2, Insightful)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071212)

we're still stuck with replacing batteries.

if the processor doesn't use alot of power, I'd think if they include some sort of kinetic power generator, that it won't need batteries.

News for NERDS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071215)

Why is this news for nerds? Most Slashdotters need a chair that adjusts to their butt. :p

GPS? (3, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071217)

What would be cool is if you could hook this up to GPS. You could chart your runs and develop statistics, such as how many steps per minute, etc. These shoes could be great for people trying to gather data on runners.

What will they think of next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071224)

Ok, just tell me, who on god's green earth needs a f***ing microchip in their shoe to tell them how to run better?!? How in the world is there even a market for such a pointless product? Are there really that many zombies walking around in a marketing-induced stupor to actually *buy* this crap? Please let this fail. Please! I just want to have some hope that our species isn't totally doomed.

But how fast can it adjust? (1)

beeplet (735701) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071228)

Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use.

20000 readings per second seems like more than enough... but the article makes no mention of how fast the motor can respond to that information. Does the shoe adjust each fraction of a second, changing as the foot hits the ground and pushes off, or does the shoe just adjust to gradual changes like the running surface? I somehow doubt it's the former, and if it's the latter, I don't see any advantage over buying a set of regular running shoes designed for a particular use. I can only see these shoes being useful if someone wants to wear the same pair on a large variety of courses (on road, off road, gravel, etc.) but in that case I wonder if that's the kind of person who wants to spend big bucks on their sneakers...

Seriously (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071239)

There was the pump and LA lights [pair.com] but by far the coolest and best feeling ones were Nike Air [pair.com]. Amuasingly enough some of the patents on AIR expired in 1997. So there could be competetiors using it now as well. AIR was really cool becasue of the science that went into the "AIR" (molecular weight of gases) and the nature of the container (semi permeable to real air.. which made it inflate itsef..sorta)..

FORGET THAT, A CPU IN MY SHOE NEEDS TO.... (1)

standing_still (772809) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071244)

"Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe."

Forget that! I need a shoe that will sense the stink coming from my feet, and deodorize as needed!

battery life (3, Insightful)

deadboy2000 (739605) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071254)

100 hours of non-rechargable battery life?? That's like two week's worth of use! How many times do you think a user is going to bother changing the battery before giving up and just using them like any other shoe?

(no reg. req.) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071264)

The Bionic Running Shoe [nytimes.com]

By MICHEL MARRIOTT

Published: May 6, 2004

PORTLAND, Ore.

SHOES have long been sensible. Now some are getting smart.

Smart enough, that is, to sense their environment electronically, calculate how best to perform in it, and then instantly alter their physical properties to adapt to that environment. In short, the designers say, shoes that can do whatever is needed to deliver improved athletic performance or just a better experience in the ancient poetry of feet striking the earth.

"The whole concept of an intelligent shoe would be great," said Christian DiBenedetto, a scientist here at the North American headquarters of Adidas. "Something that would change to your different needs during a marathon, or whatever you were doing, was always the fantasy."

Adidas, the 83-year-old German sporting-goods maker, is about to turn that fantasy into biomechanical reality in the form of a running shoe for men and women. Sleek and lightweight despite its battery-powered sensor, microprocessor and electric motor, the shoe, named 1, is expected to be in stores by December and will cost $250.

Adidas executives say the shoe is no gadget-dependent gimmick. Instead, its designers say it represents a leap forward in wearable technology. Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use.

"What we have, basically, is the first footwear product that can change its characteristics in real time," said Mr. DiBenedetto, who led the group that created the shoe, of its ability to adapt its cushioning as the wearer runs.

The shoes will have push-button controls, light-emitting diodes to display settings and an instruction manual on a CD-ROM that will advise wearers on, among other things, how to change the battery after every 100 hours of use.

Of all items of clothing, said Rob Enderle, a principal analyst for the Enderle Group in San Jose, Calif., the shoe is a logical one to be a focus of wearable technology. Unlike articles of clothing that must be washed or cleaned, shoes present a more stable place to add useful electronics, he said.

High-performance shoes, particularly those intended for athletic use, he said, have been augmented with an array of biomechanical enhancements, most of them involving compressed gases, shock absorbers and springs. But until now, he said, "I don't recall electronics being applied in shoes other than for lights."

From the start of development in early 2001, the shoe was viewed as an opportunity for Adidas to innovate, said Steve Vincent, who leads the company's worldwide innovation team of about 50 people. Mr. DiBenedetto's group is one of seven in Germany, Italy and the United States that work in such secrecy that the units' names are not mentioned to outsiders. To do otherwise, Mr. Vincent said from his corner office overlooking the Willamette River, "would just give away the farm."

In the hypercompetitive sporting-goods industry, of which the $15 billion sneaker market is only a part, innovation is seen more and more as a great differentiator. And while other companies, like Nike [nytimes.com] in nearby Beaverton, Ore., have made a name for themselves with new products, Mr. Vincent acknowledged that Adidas had not established a firm reputation as an innovator in the American market.

"We look at innovation as the fuel for our company," he said. "We are committed to deliver at least one new impactful technology or innovation every year."

Among the first of those products was ClimaCool, a line of athletic shoes and garments introduced in 2002 that use sophisticated materials and strategically placed venting to relieve the wearer's heat and perspiration. Others include a soccer ball that is bonded rather than hand-sewn for better durability and truer flight, and a shoe engineered to kick it faster and farther, as well as a swimsuit that uses computer-assisted design and wind-tunnel testing to take advantage of fluid dynamics.

The latest creation, and the first to incorporate digital technology, is the 1 running shoe. Outside the shoe's development group, which seldom grew beyond seven designers, engineers, researchers and testers, few people ever saw the shoes as they took shape.

"We used to keep them taped up," said Mark A. Oleson, a 29-year-old electromechanical engineer, who with Mr. DiBenedetto, 38, formed the core of the group.

And because Mr. Oleson has a size-9 foot, the size of most shoe prototypes, he also became its chief tester, running the hallways of the innovation team's bright, airy building and the lush green neighborhoods that surround it.

But the challenge was melding a shoe with technology in a new way.

The first thing Mr. DiBenedetto and his group had to learn was whether there was an ideal range of cushioning for runners. Cushioning is the shoe's means of smoothly decelerating the runner's foot when the heel strikes the ground. If the compression is too hard, the foot slows too quickly and the shock is felt in the runner's knees, said Mr. DiBenedetto, whose background is in mechanical and aeronautical engineering. If the cushioning is too soft, the foot "bottoms out," he said, striking the ground too hard, also stressing the knees.

Mr. DiBenedetto said he was surprised to learn that no one had ever precisely measured cushioning compression while a shoe was in use. To do that, he and Mr. Oleson inserted a sensor about the size of a sparrow's eye into the top of the heel of a standard Adidas running shoe, and a magnet smaller than a dime in the bottom of the heel, creating a magnetic field that the sensor could measure. As the heel was compressed, the sensor, known as a Hall sensor, measured the corresponding changes in the magnetic field strength to a tenth of a millimeter, 1,000 times a second.

To retrieve the data, the group also had to design and build a data logger to gather and store the information and then transfer it to a computer for analysis. After much trial and error, the group had a sensor and data logger small and powerful enough to be snapped onto the tongue of a sneaker.

During their first months of research, Mr. DiBenedetto and Mr. Oleson said they taught themselves to make their own circuit boards and solder components onto them. Mr. DiBenedetto, a former toy maker and designer of air intake and exhaust systems on highly classified aircraft projects for Lockheed, said the group began buying and dissecting motorized toys.

The Hasbro [nytimes.com] electronic toy creature known as Furby helped them better understand the kinds of tiny electric motors and switches they might need for the shoe. A skinned Furby sat on the edge of a table in Mr. DiBenedetto's work space.

Once the group had a reliable "sensor shoe," it set a number of them at various cushioning levels and invited testers to select the pair of shoes they found most comfortable. Then they ran in them.

"They'd come back and we'd download the data, and what we started to see was that everyone was picking a shoe that got them to the same range of compression," Mr. DiBenedetto recalled.

That led his group to write mathematical language that enabled the shoe's embedded 20-megahertz computer continually to ensure that the cushioning was ideal for the runner and the situation.

Next the group faced the issue of how to make a shoe adapt while it is being worn. The solution was a hollow engineered plastic cushion with metal support brackets. When the shoe's motor adjusted the tension on a stainless steel cord that ran through the flexible heel, the heel responded just the way Mr. DiBenedetto and Mr. Oleson wanted.

Mr. Enderle, the analyst, predicted that even at $250 a pair, shoes that use digital technology effectively are likely to find a market. Fortunately for Adidas, he said, "a lot of people who run - business executives and the rest - do have the money and love having the latest cutting-edge shoe that apply technology to make the running experience better."

Photos:

IN DEVELOPMENT [nytimes.com] - Mark A. Oleson, left, and Christian DiBenedetto, the core of a group that developed the Adidas 1 shoe.

Control Center [nytimes.com] - Clear housing in the arch of the Adidas 1 running shoe holds a microprocessor built around a motor unit, along with a battery that must be replaced after 100 hours.

FINE TUNING [nytimes.com] - The shoe's "user interface" consists of two buttons that adjust for the runner's preference for softer or harder cushioning. Five light-emitting diodes display the setting.

GETTING IN GEAR [nytimes.com] - The heel contains a sensor and magnet to gauge the cushioning needed and relay the data to the microprocessor; a drive train running from the motor makes adjustments.

special shoe chip add on for slashdot (2, Funny)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071266)

has optimization for stomping on ground while playing warcraft, and then quickly switching to walkjing to fridge for mountain dew. also takes into consideration extra fatness.

Nice invention, shame about the people. (1)

Willeh (768540) | more than 9 years ago | (#9071270)

While it looks nice on paper, i doubt many sports organisations will allow this kind of thing. Although technology has worked for years outside the sports stadiums (computer engineerd ice skates for example, tailored to suit the athletes), this is just crossing a line imo. So Adidas is left to cater to yuppies so they can boast about their new shoes/ their new mile record whatever. Also, In Soviet Russia, Shoe monitors you!

I couldn't finish the race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9071272)

My shoe kept crashing. Or I had to reboot the left one in Central Park. My shoe got owned.
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