Meet Project Runsafer – the running shoe that tells you when you’re going wrong

We all love running, but it can’t be denied that it does bring the risk of a wide range of injuries. But how can you avoid overstretching yourself and causing potential damage?

That’s the question that the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) from Germany has set out to answer. It has this week announced that it has, in association with scientists in five European countries, developed the Runsafer smart running shoe, which will help identify potential issues before they become troublesome.

Project Runsafer utilises a number of sensors to gather information on your running style, which will then be sent to your smartphone

The shoe uses a range of built-in sensors measuring G force, direction, and GPS in order to determine how hard, how fast, and how long you’re running, including information about whether you’re on a hard or soft surface, and when you are taking a break.

The shoe transmits this data via Bluetooth to your smartphone, which then connects to a central computer which will analyse this information. Based on this, you will get tips sent back to your phone suggesting ways to improve your workout.

In addition to things like telling you to slow down or to take a break, the sensors can analyse the way you push off and plant from your feet, or even plan a complete workout routine to achieve your health goals.

The team behind the shoe say that it provides a major advantage over other wearable technology devices, such as smartwatches and activity monitors, due to the range of sensors available. “Pulse-rate watches and chest straps record only vital signs like breathing and heart rate. In contrast, our running shoe medically evaluates and monitors training while jogging. It informs the runner for example of incorrect foot position, asymmetric loading, or warns of exhaustion or overload. There has never been a comparable device before,” says Dr. Andreas Heinig, a scientist from IPMS.

According to the researchers, the measurement system can easily be installed and removed from the soles of the shoes and can be recharged by simply placing the shoes on the companion charger.

Project Runsafer is the fruit of a partnership between six institutions

The team has completed a prototype of the running shoe and is currently developing a smaller version of the system. Spanish shoe and sportswear manufacturer New Millenium Sports SL has partnered with the team and, if all goes to plan, will be bringing the footwear to the market in early 2015.

Would you be happy with your shoes telling you how to work out? Let us know in the comments below.

[Via Fraunhofer Institute]


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