The New Soul/Sole of Sport

Adidas unveils the latest in wearable sports technology, the Adidas 1:

Adidas executives say the shoe is no gadget-dependent gimmick. Instead, its designers say it represents a leap forward in wearable technology. Each second, a sensor in the heel can take up to 20,000 readings and the embedded electronic brain can make 10,000 calculations, directing a tiny electric motor to change the shoe. The goal is to make the shoe adjust to changing conditions and the runner's particular style while in use.

"What we have, basically, is the first footwear product that can change its characteristics in real time," said Mr. DiBenedetto, who led the group that created the shoe, of its ability to adapt its cushioning as the wearer runs.

. . .

High-performance shoes, particularly those intended for athletic use, he said, have been augmented with an array of biomechanical enhancements, most of them involving compressed gases, shock absorbers and springs. But until now, he said, "I don't recall electronics being applied in shoes other than for lights."

Fifteen or so years ago, a 20-megahertz desktop computer was just being released on the market, and cost many thousands of dollars. Today, one is embedded in a running shoe and can be purchased for $250.


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