Back in the 1980s activity trackers and smartwatches didn’t exist. But that didn’t stop Puma from releasing what could be considered one of the world’s first smart fitness wearables. The company has now announced it is bringing back its old computerized running shoe. It will have a similar design, but new tech inside.
Essential reading: Smart shoes- tracking fitness through the feet
Global sports brand Puma is not a big name when it comes to wearable tech. But it is one of the pioneers of the concept.
Way back in 1986 it came up with the original idea of tracking fitness through the feet. The idea was novel then, and it’s still in its infancy now. The race to make running shoes an integral part of the Internet of Things is clearly lagging behind wrist worn activity trackers and smartwatches. Which is kind of odd considering the feet are the most logical place from which to monitor steps, distance and other associated metrics.
Thirty years ago Puma outfitted its RS-Computer Shoe (the RS stands for Running System), with a chip that gave runners the ability to compare past runs with future goals. While this might not sound too impressive, those of us old enough to remember know that chips were much larger back then and this was a time when personal computers were just starting to catch on. The tech was hidden in a bulge protruding from the heel and you needed to connect a 16 pin cord to the port on the shoe and your Apple II or Commodore 64 computer to view the data (time, distance and calories).
Fitness buffs with a nostalgia for those days will be happy to know Puma is re-introducing the old concept. Like the original, the new version of RS Computer sneakers will be manufactured in limited quantity. Signifying the year it first originated, just 86 individually labelled pairs will be sold at Kith, on PUMA.com in the US and Japan, PUMA stores in Harajuku, Tokyo; Carnaby Street, London and Berlin.
The design and appearance will be similar, but Puma is slapping on modern tech in the form of a three-axis accelerometer, memory to store 30 days worth of workouts, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for charging. There will also be an accompanying Android and iOS smartphone app with an 8-bit graphics interface (seen on original computer screens), and inside the app is an 8-bit game.
The 2018 iteration will be sold starting December 13th. Check out the VHS video below to teleport back in time.
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