Of all the weird things I’ve seen in Austin, these shoes might be the weirdest. Bluetooth-connected and constantly uploading data to the cloud, these “smart” sneakers come with a lot of questions and few answers.
The shoes are a “co-creation” by Fjitsu, SnowRobin and two Japanese universities. The on-board sensors, and doo-hickies seem best-suited for a lab environment — which is mostly what they’re used for — but interactive “walking experiences” and data-tracking games make it clear it won’t be this way for long.
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One such experience, the Pa-League Walk, allows Japanese people to (you guessed it) walk in order to support their favorite Japanese professional baseball team. If that’s not enough to get you out of the house and headed to the nearest Foot Locker, hold on to your hats.
It’s not just walking, that’d be stupid. Instead, you get to use your expensive (presumably — no information was available) new shoes to track step data. The goal, of course, is to walk more than fans of other teams. With any luck, this will revolutionize the game and lead to winners being chose by who walks furthest from $10 beer sold within the stadium.
The nice man demo-ing the shoes on the SXSW trade show floor also was quite adamant that these shoes were cloud-connected. Great, because I’ve really been looking forward to the day I can upload images, or bark commands at my sneakers.
If you find yourself asking who needs smart shoes, the demo video doesn’t offer much in the way of answers.
From what I could gather, these shoes aren’t on the market yet, and are just being used for promos and experiential demos. In the future, however, he said all shoes would be smart shoes, and smiled.
I hope he’s not serious, as that’s a world I just don’t think I want to live in. But, if it must happen you can find me sharing my disdain while tweeting from my smart fridge.