Sunday, March 20, 2005

Can these running shoes outsmart you?

The German sneaker and sports apparel maker on Friday began selling the first model of its so-called intelligent footwear, a running shoe known simply as Adidas-1 that's built around an onboard microprocessor. Retailing for $250, the white and gold shoes have the capability, Adidas says, to automatically adjust themselves to respond to a wearer's changing needs for greater or smaller amounts of cushioning around the feet.

Any runner will tell you that the right shoes are key to success. The wrong fit or cushioning can hurt performance and cause injury, while the perfect shoe can help a runner tear up the pavement.

According to Adidas, a division of sporting goods conglomerate Adidas-Salomon, the sneakers use a sensor and magnet to feed information to the microprocessor, indicating whether a runner's cushioning level is too soft or too firm. The processor then actuates a motor-driven cable system built into the arch of the shoe that changes the amount of padding applied to the wearer's foot. Adidas said that changes in the cushioning are made gradually, so that all a runner is supposed to notice is that the shoes fit snugly.

Addidas - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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