How about something lighthearted after last evening’s events?
“We made this world with our hands, but it was our feet that got us here”.
So reads the promo for small start-up Vixole’s Indiegogo campaign, thus far having raised 10% of its $200,000 goal to create a custom design shoe line. It’s a sneaker. And more than just a sneaker.
Made of calf leather, elastic and rubber, the Matrix looks like any other fancy tennis shoe at first glance. Encasing the heel, however, is a layer of thermoplastic polymer material which houses a set of 7 sensors and LEDs.
What are the seven sensors for? Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, sound, bending, brightness, and a vibrator are all included.
This is a smart shoe-quite literally on the heels of the smartphone- and it connects to one, through Bluetooth. This means that when you get a text message or email, you can sync your sneakers to your phone so your shoes vibrate instead. If you’re using a GPS system to navigate your trip, the sensors in your shoes can vibrate and direct you, step by step, to your destination.
What makes the sneaker fun and customizable is its screen. At 32 x 72 pixels, it’s pretty low resolution, but the software supports jpeg, gif and png files. Furthermore, you can take a picture with your phone, upload it to the software, and transmit the image to your shoes.
For six hours of battery life, your shoes can display a picture of your dog, flashes of light, and whatever else you have a mind to photograph. When it’s time to recharge your shoes, which run on a lithium polymer battery, they’re simply placed on a stand and charge wirelessly.
So far, Vixole’s working prototype looks pretty neat. But is a sneaker, even a designer model, meant to be treated “like your best dress shoe”, as Vixole exhorts? The Matrix, mostly water-resistant leather, can be damaged by everyday activities like getting caught in a heavy rainfall or falling from your bicycle. Smartshoes may follow smartphones, but currently retailing at nearly $400, you have to wonder how much this technology actually benefits your life. One thing is for certain: it’s cool. But, for me, the overall style is terrible. I love the screen.
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