Smart clothing isn’t a new concept, but while Apple’s smartwatch has taken off on its own, the wearable technology movement hasn’t really found general pieces of clothing to be all that accepting.
That isn’t going to stop companies from designing their own ideas on how it should work, though. On Friday, CNBC has a report out that outlines Verily’s efforts to create health-tracking shoes. Verily is a life science company under the Alphabet umbrella (the entity that also houses companies like Google), and they have been seeking partnerships to help develop this new type of smart wearable.
According to the report, Verily is showing off prototypes of the new smart shoes, which are designed to track a variety of different health elements, including weight and movement. The embedded sensors make this all possible, including the ability to detect falls. There is no word on how close to a final development these shoes are, but right now it sounds pretty early on. It’s also possible that Verily doesn’t follow through with this specific iteration and moves on to something else.
“If Verily progresses with the project, the shoes could have a wide range of health-related uses. For instance, sudden weight gain can be a sign that the body is retaining fluid, which is a symptom of congestive heart failure. Another area of interest is fall detection, two of the people said, which could be useful for seniors in particular.”
Fall detection is a relatively new feature for the Apple Watch as well, and something Apple showed off in earnest last year alongside the debut of the Apple Watch Series 4.
Smartwatches are a great start, and there are coats out there that allow for some simplistic controls in the cuff, but smart clothing is a market that’s still waiting to take off. Building health-tracking features into them might help boost their relevance. It has certainly helped the Apple Watch jump ahead of the smartwatch pack by a wide margin.