This photo shows a smart insole for shoes. As you might expect, this device can do a much more accurate job of counting your steps than any wrist-worn fitness band can possibly do. But that’s not why it was created. This device is the work of a group of researchers from Salt Lake City who initially set out to solve a very different problem. Amputees who receive a prosthetic leg often walk with a limp. This irregular gait can lead to all sorts of complications, ranging from inefficient walking that tires the subject too quickly, to back pain and muscle injury as the body tries to compensate.
Stacy Bamberg is the CEO of Veristride; she and her colleagues have studied irregular gait problems in depth over the years. The insole in the photo above is one of the prototypes that they have created. It has multiple sensors that can measure physical motion in three dimensions, asymmetry, the instantaneous force applied on different parts of the foot, and more. This data is sent wirelessly to an app running on a smartphone or tablet, where it can be analyzed. As a result, treatment plans and exercises can be developed to help the subject develop a more even gait.
The company does not plan to produce insoles; instead they intend to license their technology to other companies to include in their products and services. They are targeting enterprise and hospital applications, expanding to include physical therapy for stroke and injury victims. As Bamberg puts it, they don’t want to be “the Fitbit for feet, but the Google for gait.”