By William Mccall
PORTLAND, Oregon, May 6 AP - Adidas says it hascreated the world’s first
smart shoe'' by mating itwith a computer chip that adapts its cushioning level to a runner's size and stride. The Adidas 1 is the product of a three-year secret project the German company developed at its US headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Adidas today opened its research lab to reporters from around the world for a first peek at a shoe the company claims will revolutionise distance running and training. This is the first intelligent shoe ever,’’ said Erich Stamminger, global marketing director for Adidas.
It senses, understands and adapts.'' After thousands of hours of testing, Adidas is confident the computerised shoe will endure the wear-and-tear of running in almost any condition - from hard pavement to dirt trails, and dry streets to wetbeaches. The microprocessor is located in the arch of the shoe,and drives a tiny screw and cable system that adjuststhe heel cushion depending on the signals sent back byan electric sensor coupled to a magnet. It is powered by a battery that conserves power byadjusting the shoe while it is in the air during arunner's stride, avoiding resistance from the ground. The entire assembly weighs no more than 40 grams -just 10 per cent of the 400-gram total weight of theshoe, to keep it light enough for distance runners. But the $US250 price tag is likely to make it a luxuryitem when it first goes on sale in December, said PaulSwangard, managing director of the Warsaw SportsMarketing Centre at the University of Oregon. It’s something that doesn’t necessarily seem to havemassive market appeal, but from the company standpointspeaks volumes about its technology capabilities,’'Swangard said.
By William Mccall