To quote the King, “you can do anything, but lay off of my Blue Suede Shoes”. If Elvis only knew what we were coming up with next.
Lechal, a company out of India, has developed a new type of smart shoe that can be bluetooth connected to your smartphone. I can’t wait to get a pair. These shoes were originally designed for visually impaired individuals, but I see the indication stretching much further. The concept of shoes to help with certain medical conditions could prove very helpful.
Given the idea of smart shoes, many concepts can help patients with peripheral neuropathy, balance and fall issues or even incorrect gait (pattern of walking). The Lechal Bluetooth shoe is meant to vibrate based on GPS guidance to tell a person when to turn in a certain direction. Imagine closing your eyes and letting your shoes tell you to turn left or right to get from your kitchen to your bathroom (talk about sleepwalking!). With this technology and beyond, the shoe could even move for you improving your gait and even posture. If you were unable to lift the front of your foot (as is the case with many stroke and neurologic patients), the shoe could automatically be programmed to flex for you, decreasing the risk of tripping and falling. In diabetics and patients with neuropathy (inability to feel with their feet), this could provide small vibrations or electric impulses to help patients better feel when their foot is in contact with the ground.
For my sports medicine junkies (Dr. Robichau at Memorial Hermann Ironman Institute), this is a great shoe for runners. Imagine plugging in a route and then your shoes let you know when to turn right or left. This could also transmit and store all of the information like time, distance, pace, incline, caloric burn, etc.
Overall I am very excited that “The Extraordinary Foot” is getting some smart phone love. I think Lechal is going to be the first “step” in bluetooth shoewear.