Sensoria smart socks may do more than help you run better

Startup Heapsylon is launching a crowdfunding campaign to kick-start its washable computerized socks that track everything from activity type and calories burned to altitude gains and overpronation.

Sensoria Fitness is set to debut in 2014 for $150. Heapsylon

A slew of fancy pedometers has hit the market in recent years, capturing a range of data to help people know how many steps they've taken, how far they've gone, how many calories they've burned, and even one's sleep quality.

Well move over Fitbits and Omrons, because a new kid is moving to the block. Redmond, Wash.-based startup Heapsylon is launching an $87,000 crowdfunding campaign

today on Indiegogo to wrap up product development and manufacturing of its highly anticipated Sensoria Fitness system, replete with smart socks, electronic anklet, and virtual coach mobile app.

The system, which was a finalist at the Wearable Technology Innovation World Cup 2012, tracks everything from foot landing and stride cadence to activity level and altitude gain. And as co-founder Davide Vigano recently told Business Week, "We'll go beyond socks at some point. In an ideal scenario, we want to become the GoreTex of embeddable computing."

Two of the founders hail from Microsoft's XBox Kinect division and claim that the Sensoria socks -- which have the advantage of hugging one's feet for maximum data points but the disadvantage of becoming funky -- are built to survive the washer and dryer and yet feel soft to the touch. To accomplish all this without sacrificing the tech, the socks must also be worn with a Bluetooth-enabled anklet that reads the sensors and sends the data to a smartphone, where an app works like a virtual coach to provide instant feedback and motivation via voice, charts, and so on.

The company is also announcing a partnership with Flextronics to help engineer and manufacture Sensoria Fitness. The whole system -- socks, sensor, and app -- is set to retail for $150 (with an additional set of three socks going for $60) when it debuts in 2014, and the first 200 Indiegogo supporters are being promised the discounted price of $100.

Though the campaign is initially targeting runners, the developers hope to continue to expand the data being collected so that people can use the socks for far more than jogging tips. Think skiers wanting to better understand their turns, golfers working on their stances, nurses hoping to improve their bedside posture, and diabetics suffering lower-limb nerve damage.

About the author

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.

 

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