Hold the phone -- Apple wants to let you know when it's time to buy your next pair of shoes.
In a recently published patent application, the tech giant has proposed embedding sensors in footwear that would track the wearer's activity and send a notification when it's time for a new pair. The application describes a "Shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods."
The application's summary describes the system thus:
A body bar sensing system for sensing movement of a body bar may be provided. The body bar sensing system may include a housing having a coupling mechanism operative to couple to the body bar, a detector disposed within the housing and operative to sense movement of the body bar when the housing is coupled to the body bar, and a processor operative to determine a number of repetitions of the movement based on the sensed movement.
The summary describes a variety scenarios for the device:
In one embodiment, a shoe wear out sensor includes at least one detector for sensing a physical metric that changes as a shoe wears out, a processor configured to process the physical metric, over time, to determine if the shoe is worn out, and an alarm for informing a user of the shoe when the sole is worn out.
The application also suggests the sensor could have practical applications besides letting the owner know when it's time for a new pair, including helping to measure a child's daily activity or to determine whether an injured leg is getting the proper amount of activity to facilitate recovery.
One diagram included with the application, which was filed last July, showed how the device could be implanted in the shoe's heel, but Apple said the sensor could be placed anywhere in the shoe to provide similar functionality.
The sensors could include wireless transmitters, accelerometers, pressure sensors, with alerts being communicated to the wearer via an LED-powered display or speaker sound.