As the evolution of wearable technology continues at a fast pace, today we look at the Sensoria socks, which have just been awarded the prestigious IDTechEx 2015 ‘New wearable technology device’ prize. These textile sensor infused smartsocks are the next evolution of wearables, capturing an incredible amount of data from our feet.
These socks are the Sensoria’s main product but they have also introduced an impressive looking driving sensor. This has led to them forging some really interesting partnerships with the likes of Renault sport, with whom they have created a special sensor top which the driver wears in order to capture vital stats, including heart rate. We have reached out to learn more about what the company are up to, and will aim to push out an interview over the coming weeks. But back to the smart-socks.
Firstly though, what is the this prize? IDTE, for those who have never heard of it, is the biggest printed electronics and sensor evening in the world. The event started out with a background in emerging tech trends, and has evolved from the world of print to look at everything new. With wearables being the buzz word going into 2016, its no major surprise to see that they have jumped onto this bandwagon.
The panel who selected Sensoria as the winner is prestigious, featuring a Senior Sports Technologist with the American Olympic Committee and the Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, Matthew Drinkwater, at the London College of Fashion.
What are these Sensoria smart socks?
Who would have known that you can run faster, more efficiently, improve your stride and cadence and compare running shoes, all from a sock?
Its a sad reality that over 65% of all runners get injured every year. This is a staggering stat, especially considering the amount of technology on the market to help us run faster and the volume of personal trainers who focus on running stride analysis and form correction. So clearly there is a problem here, and that is where the guys at Sensoria are aiming to fix.
To overcome this, we need to better understand how we run, in order to become more aware of the issues that we face. The largest problem with the average persons running style is ‘heel striking’, a stride issue whereby you hit the ground first with your heel before the ball of your foot. I have personally fallen fowl of this before, and it led to a knee injury which took nearly half a year of corrective work, physio and strengthening work to overcome. According to professor Lieberman at Harvard, heel striking is akin to whacking your heel 1,000 times a mile with a sledgehammer. So clearly its not a good thing.
This is precisely where a smart sock laden with sensors which are infused into the socks fabric come into play, because they can analyse exactly how your foot interacts with the ground. Leveraging these interwoven sensors, the socks capture your stride data, and pass it back to your app using a smart-ankle bracelet which connects via bluetooth. You are then armed with a dashboard which enables you to understand how you run, with some awesome data visualisation of your stride.
The other aspect of running technique that’s worthy of mention is your cadence. The number of steps you take per minute or per mile radically impacts the angle of inflection for your ankles, hips and knees when your feet hit the ground. Different angles equal different stress, and different stresses – or the wrong angles to be more precise – equate to a higher risk of injury. Again, these smart socks can help you understand this.
The socks are currently being sold via the companies own store, which is available here. They are currently priced at $199, which gets you two pairs of the socks, the bluetooth anklet, a charging port for the anklet and the companion application. You can also buy additional socks.