Project completed for the "Sneaker Design + Wearable Technology" 3-week summer class offered by RISD in conjuction with SLEM - an international innovation and education institute for footwear located in the Netherlands. Our assignment was to create an original sneaker design prototype that incorporated wearable technology in a way that would aid the user.
Since I've dealt with many injuries throughout my running career, I decided to create a smart running shoe that would help with injury prevention and detection in three ways: by recognizing when the runner's gait differs from their norm, a sign that they may be compensating for an injury and should take time off; suggesting a forefoot foot strike; and detecting the precise location of an injury when one strikes.
Photos by Xixikiwii
Strike features a side lacing system to relieve pressure from the tendons on the top of the foot. The neopixel lights would have the option of lighting up in the night for safety, and are encased in 3D-printed neurons, a reference to the shoe's future ability to read nerve endings on the bottom of the foot to detect injuries.
3D rendering of the insole with casings to hold the Arduino Gemma microcontroller and Lithium Ion battery
Soldering wires to the Arduino
Code: reads the Velostat pressure sensor in the heel as an input, and produces a different effect with the neopixel lights and piezo buzzer as output. When the runner strikes with their heel, for example, they will feel a buzz to alert them so they can modify their footstrike to be more forefoot. When the shoe detects injury, it buzzes in a different sequence and lights up red.
For the demo, there is one Velostat pressure sensor in the heel sending data to the Arduino. When it's pressed to simulate a heel strike, the Arduino signals the lights to turn red and the buzzer in the heel tab to buzz. When not pressed, the lights are in their night running state.
Below are some sketchbook pages showing the ideation process