How wearables are changing the way we walk
The wearables market is now hitting the streets, literally! New creative devices are being constructed to help people move around the city easier than before. Here, we’re going to tackle two new devices that I find pretty interesting and that just might help you with your commute to work, errand-running, or exercising on the go.
Pulling your phone out from your waistband or pocket be quite the hassle while running or biking, especially as it’s jumping and jostling around in your shorts. Ducere Technologies realized that this was an issue, and created the Lechal smart shoes. Pronounced “lay-chull”, these shoes were given its name from the Hindi word meaning “take me there”, which perfectly suit the shoes for their purpose.
The devices link to your phone and track your location using Google Maps, then vibrate gently on your feet when you need to turn left, right, or around. Doing so eliminates the need for you to bring your phone out of your pocket while traveling, which could be of great use to bikers who commute to work and wish to take a different route if roads are closed.
What I find to be both a benefit and drawback of the devices is their design. I have to say I am not the biggest fan of the exterior “shell” of the shoe, but love that the sole is what really guides users. The sole is also made to fit most shoes, so you don’t have to worry about throwing away your favourite pair or work shoes that you wear everyday.
With an interactive battery charger, you can know the power of your devices at literally the snap of your fingers. A few snaps and the shoes will audibly pronounce their charging levels, letting you know from a distance how much battery life you have. The shoes also act as a fitness tracker, counting your steps and keeping an eye on the calories you burn as you walk. The shoes are expected to be priced around $140.00 which is honestly, in my opinion, a fair price for both a quality shoe and smart device.
Rocket Power Skates
Here’s something new to see on your commute to work: vibrant red electric roller skates that motorize the user through the streets up to 12 mph. And not only do these things look futuristic, but also are compatible with our tech today. Able to sync with your phone via Bluetooth, these skates are taking roller blades to a whole new level.
The ACTON RocketSkates allow for riders to see a complete view of the skate’s diagnostics on a companion app, as well as play games, track themselves via GPS, and even send their skates on their own adventure (you can control the skates through the app too)! The skates work by tilting your front either toes-down or toes-up to accelerate/decelerate. Your shoes also fit into the skates, which allow you to take them off anywhere and not be caught walking around the office awkwardly in socks.
This Kickstarter project seems to take mobility in a different direction, fusing your morning commute or errand-running with today’s wearable technology we have all come to know and love.
What really caught my eye was their SDK for developers, which allows programmers to create games, apps, and other integrative pieces that are compatible with other smartwear (even watches and Glass). I honestly can’t tell how efficient the skates will be, nor how easily they’ll catch on with the somewhat wearable-tech-reluctant society we’re in for the moment; what I can see in these skates is a step, or in this case “roll”, forward toward greater innovation.
Each of these devices bring unique functions and design to users, which is something commonly found in almost every new wearable that hits the market. I may not be able to say that I’m going to buy either anytime soon (as I’m a college student and on a strict budget), but I will say I’m excited to see these products in use and hopefully on the streets within the coming years.