“If my feet could talk!” Feet are an essential part of life for the average person, yet we take them for granted. The German company Moticon has an existing product on the market that lets your feet tell you exactly what’s going on. These smart insoles come with 13 pressure sensors that help locate the forces acting on your feet. They also include 3D acceleration sensors to determine the direction and speed of movement. They also measure temperature. All of this is contained in a thin, lightweight, and durable insole, including a rechargeable button battery that is good for up to 24 hours of continuous operation.
The insoles can communicate wirelessly with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet for real-time tracking and analysis, or they can store the data for later download. The company also includes their Beaker program that provides a graphic interface to make it easier to visualize the results. This information can be helpful in many ways. It can guide athletes and their trainers to create more targeted exercise for improved performance. It also can be used to help diagnose and guide the treatment of injuries or chronic problems. And it can help physical therapists work with patients on rehabilitation after injury or surgery.
Before the advent of inexpensive, low-power sensors and other components, gathering this data would have required complicated wiring that would limit the subject’s mobility. Now you can gather complex real-time data, and it is as simple as putting on your shoes. Now all they need to add is an energy-harvesting system and you might not ever need to recharge the batteries.