While most fitness devices can tell you how far or how long you’ve run, most of them can’t tell you much about your form. That’s where the Sensoria Fitness Socks come in.
Developed by Heapsylon, the Sensoria’s technology features an anklet that works with a proprietary sock to deliver detailed information about your foot’s movement. The version we demoed was a prototype of the final build, but it still accurately showcased how the technology works.
Sensoria’s $149 kit comes with both the sock and the anklet which works with an accompanying app to give its wearer feedback. The sock features sensors on the inside that detect pressure, so the sock can tell whether you're putting more weight on a certain part of your foot or if you’re landing on the balls of your feet as you run. The electronic anklet can also monitor weight distribution and cadence in addition to speeds, calories, altitude and distance like other fitness devices. The app will be available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
The Sensoria Smart Socks were built around the mentality that fabric, like other wearable devices such as watches and eyewear, can become smart too.
“Technology is becoming smaller, and it will eventually disappear to the human eye,” said Maurizio Macagno, vice president of development for Heapsylon, during our demo. “The garment is the actual computer.”
According Macagno, a device like the Sensoria Smart Socks can be more effective than wristbands since there’s less of a chance that it will misinterpret your movement. Heapsylon’s sensor-embedded socks only detect movement when your feet move, while devices such as the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up or Fitbit Force could pick up movement whenever you move your arm or hand.
The anklet magnetically snaps to the sock to gather any information detected by the sensors. During our hands-on (or rather, foot-on) with the Sensoria Smart Socks, we were impressed with how responsive the technology was. As soon as we moved our foot, the accompanying app illustrated our movement. The app that we demonstrated was a prototype of the final build, but it was working well enough to display our data. As we walked around our office wearing the Smart Sock, we noticed different parts of our foot light up within the app.
The app not only processes information gathered by the Smart Socks and anklet, but also comes with settings and features for tailoring your workout, such as a virtual coach.
The sock itself felt comfortable and natural-- we couldn’t notice the sensors at all while walking. The prototype anklet was surprisingly lightweight, despite its clunky form factor. The prototype band is much thicker than the final design, but we didn’t find it distracting to walk with. We could imagine that running with the prototype anklet would be difficult, but the final version was much lighter and sleeker.
The Sensoria Smart Socks currently sell for $149 and will ship in March 2014 if you pre-order through Heapsylon’s website now. There’s no set date and price for a mass consumer launch, but Heapsylon says it will be commercially available sometime in 2014.
Sensoria technology is yet another example of how wearable devices are advancing to further enhance the athletic experience. Other upcoming devices, such as Zepp’s collection of sports sensors, can attach to your baseball bat, tennis racket or golf gloves to accurately monitor your swings and provide in-depth feedback .