Verily Life Sciences is reportedly working on smart shoes that can track a users weight, movement and can even detect falls.
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The outfit is a division of the multinational conglomerate Alphabet which is the parent company of Google. Earlier this month, Verily announced that its Study Watch has received limited FDA clearance for its on-demand ECG feature. Since its launch in 2017, the timepiece has been used in a variety of clinical studies.
Verily is also working on wide range of other health-related hardware projects. This includes smart contact lenses and an intelligent spoon that makes eating easier for people with movement disorders.
As reported by CNBC, the company is now showing off a smart shoe prototype. The footwear measures movement and weight, and has the ability to detect when you’ve fallen.
Fall detection is not entirely new. Most famously, Apple has added the feature in its Series 4 watch. There is more than one way to trip, slip or fall and Apple’s device can identify a number of them based on your wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. The watch then asks if you are ok and gives you option to contact emergency.
It makes sense for Verily to focus on a fall detection feature. Like it’s other products, the shoes are not designed with activity tracking in mind. Instead, they would be targeted towards the Baby Boomers generation and those with mobility issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury for elderly Americans.
Similarly, the weight tracking feature would be less about fitness and more about providing vital medical data. The shoes would aim to identify rapid weight gain, which is one of the signs of congestive heart failure. The ultimate goal is to identify issues before they have a chance develop into more serious problems. It would mean, though, a user would have to wear the same shoes every day – which is not that practical.
It’s still too early to say whether Verily’s latest venture makes it into a real-world product. CNBC says the company is currently looking for partners interested in helping them bring the shoes to market.
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