According to statistics cited by Stepsss, a new company in Bulgaria, 30 million Americans ran for exercise at least once a week in 2012. In Europe, the estimate for 2010 was 80 million. And they estimate that each runner spends an average of $100 a year on new shoes alone; that adds up to a $11 billion annual business. And yet, these shoes are dumb.
The researchers at Stepsss have developed thin inserts that you can place above or below the insole of your shoe, and it will sense the pressure on your feet at different locations as you run. They will communicate with a small controller unit wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy, which communicates with an app on your smartphone and relays the data to the Cloud for storage and analysis. The result is that you can get real-time reporting on not just your steps, but also on your technique. This also could have applications for rehabilitation programs for runners recovering from an injury. I can even see how physical therapists might want to adapt this system for working with the elderly to analyze their walking gait and work to reduce their risk of falling.
Stepsss is listed on Angel.co and expects to launch a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign soon to help them finish development and launch a commercial product by the end of 2015. They predict that the starter packet of the controller and a pair of reusable, rechargeable inserts will cost about $120. Replacement inserts are expected to cost about $20 a pair.