Alphabet’s Verily is developing Smart Shoes for your dumb feet to track your declining mortality
I miss Velcro.
Smart wearables are the next frontier for tech companies. They have already put their talking robot cylinders in our homes, tracking our every action and logging how long we spend in the bathroom while our Fitbits track our stroke action. Now, Alphabet’s life sciences research division, Verily, the Dexter’s Laboratory of Google-associated companies, is working on a way to track us through our feet.
According to a CNBC report, Verily has already created a prototype and is looking for partners to construct the shoe because if a tech company makes a shoe it’ll look like something out of Doctor Raymond Cocteau’s closet. With both Nike and Puma working on some sort of smart shoe to alleviate the true struggle of tying our own shoes before a run (to the bodega for soda and chips), a partnership doesn’t seem too far off.
Verily’s smart shoes would contain sensors that would track the wearer’s movement, weight and measure falls. The shoes could alert you to sudden weight gains (as if your mom doesn’t already do that) that could indicate early signs of heart disease. Detecting falls could be helpful for the elderly, but Verily would have to partner with New Balance in order to sell to that demographic, losing the valuable Millennial smart-tech-everything demographic.
Taking a page from the Apple Health apps baked into the Apple Watch, Verily is also working on other health-related initiatives. A clinical research smartwatch, a spoon to help people with movement disorders scoop soup into their mouths and a smart contact lens. All of this won’t be baked into the smart shoes, but certainly give Alphabet more ways to track us, collect data and advertise back to us through said smart devices.
If Verily actually brings these shoes to market, they’ll be branded by Google and whatever the possible health benefits, will be little more than fashion-forward tracking devices. Google will receive data on not only your movements but your health and behavior statistics. An overweight man leaves his house every day at 8:30 AM, walks to the car. Drives to Burger King. Drives to work. Data connection with publicly available blueprints for the office building. Spends two hours in the bathroom. Stands at the water cooler. Advertise butt wipes and self-cleaning water bottles and Burger King coupons.
Will smart shoes make our slow trudge toward the sweet confusion of death a bit easier? Or will they create problems we didn’t know existed? Will they be nothing more than tracking devices that we can buy at discount shoe outlet stores? Yea, verily.
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