After Smartwatches And Eye-Wears, An Indian hi-tech Comes with Smart Sports Shoe

Lechal-smart-shoeAn Indian hi-tech start-up has promised to launch a real-life GPS-enabled smart sports shoe which vibrates to give directions to the wearer. The sneakers can also count the number of steps taken, distance travelled and calories burnt. The smart shoes, called LeChal, will go on sale in September.
A detachable Bluetooth transceiver is integrated into the shoes which links to a smartphone app. This app directs the wearer using Google maps and sends a vibrating signal to indicate a left and right turn. 30-year-old Krispian Lawrence and 28-year-old Anirudh Sharma have invented the smart shoes. These engineering graduates founded their start-up Ducere in 2011. Lawrence said, “We got this idea and realised that it would really help visually challenged people, it would work without any audio or physical distractions.”
Lawrence also added, “But then we were trying it out on ourselves and suddenly we were like, ‘wait a minute, even I would want this,’ because it felt so liberating not having to look down at your phone or being tied to anything. The footwear works instinctively. Imagine if someone taps your right shoulder, your body naturally reacts to turn right, and that’s how LeChal works.” Smart shoes are aimed at demographic markets like dementia patients and children whose parents want to track their movements.
But this smart shoe will target mass-market consumers and its main focus is on creating stylish footwear along with hi-tech functions. Already 25,000 orders have been made for the shoes in advance which costs $100 and $150. The company is in talks with retailers ahead of the holiday season in India and the US. Forecasts say more than 100,000 pairs of the shoes will be sold by next April. The shoes are manufactured in China. Wearable devices are the hottest trend in the global technology sector.
These shoes also serve medical purposes. Anthony Vipin Das, a doctor from L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, said, “It’s a perfect intuitive wearable item. You may forget to wear a belt or a helmet, but shoes you can never leave the house without. LeChal solves orientation and direction problems, it’s a good assistant to the cane.” There are certain limitations in these shoes which can become huge drawbacks like battery failure, loss of Bluetooth connectivity and so on. But Das says these problems can be resolved through live feed of a user’s position to a friend or a relative. The best part of these shoes is, as per Lawrence, you will no longer lose your phone. If you go away too far from your phone, the shoes buzz as a warning.

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