Wearable tech isn't all about smartwatches and fitness bands. Let's not forget about our feet. The Smart Insole can help you avoid injury and even, in some cases, surgery.
It's made by UK-based bio-engineering firm HCi Viocare Technologies. Pop it inside your standard shoe or trainer, and its network of tiny electronic sensors will record data and send it to your smartphone or tablet, where it can be analysed. Don't fancy having it as a standalone device? It can also be built into your footwear.
It's aimed at those who want to keep tabs on the condition of their feet, such as diabetic patients or athletes.
As it monitors the pressures and strains on your feet, it can send warnings to your smartphone to take remedial action when required. For diabetes sufferers, it could even mean saving their feet. They often suffer from neuropathy, which causes a loss of sensation in the feet. This makes them more prone to foot ulcers, which could ultimately lead to amputation.
Runners will also benefit, as they can see how their running style impacts on their joints. Your gait causing you trouble? It will help you adapt for pain-free running. And you won't have to wait months for expensive analysis – just fire up your phone and have a look at the results.
Like other wearable devices, it can also determine your weight, balance, calories expended, cadence and distance traveled. Not only that, it can be used to select corrective insoles for problems like over-pronation, and tell you when your running shoes don't give you enough support anymore.
HCi Viocare Technologies is in talks concerning potential licensing agreements at the moment, so it might be a while before the Smart Insole goes on sale. It's expected to cost less than £200 and may be prescribed or reimbursed by healthcare providers to diabetic patients at risk of foot ulcers.