Hardware maker, Heapsylon, debuted two new fitness products at CES 2014: a smart fitness sock that coaches users on their running techniques in real time and a heart rate monitor built into a T-shirt and bra. I got a hands-on demo with Sensoria Sock’s smartphone application that alerts users to improper foot technique and came away, shall we say, breathless.
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Sensoria places sensors on the bottom of the foot so an app can give feedback on the most common types of runner errors. During my brief jaunt with the early prototype, Sensoria was able to quickly identify that I do, indeed, strike my heels first when I run and also that I had an inconsistent pace (cadence). Unlike an expensive running coach with a camera, the Sensoria gives real-time auditory feedback in a natural environment and can follow me around wherever I go. Initially, only professionals have had access to this kind of realtime, ubiquitous coaching.
As a new runner, I’ve been having all kinds of nasty knee and calf issues. This is a product my beleaguered body is begging for.
In addition to the Sock, Heapsylon also announced a shirt and bra with an embedded heart rate monitor. Heart rate chest straps are notoriously uncomfortable and an inconvenience to carry around. Never having to remember to bring my chest strap while I travel would be a pleasant bonus.
For the futurist, Heapsylon partnered with Google Glass developer, Race Yourself, to bring heads-up visual feedback to runners. Instead of runners having to sporadically check their heart rate, Google Glass will display it in real time, along with visual data on their foot placement.
Of all the wearables I’ve demoed at CES thus far, the Sensoria Smart Sock is probably the most useful. It identifies a population eager for self-improvement and delivers a product that conveniently solves a major health issue. I can’t wait for it to be available in the spring.