Google Sister Company Verily Builds Smart Shoe To Track Movement, Weight

Shoeography | Thursday, May 09, 2019 | 0 comments

The recent advances in science and health technology have been helping human beings lead healthier lives with greater ease. We currently have more wearable devices than ever before, all of which are tracking innumerable data points that can paint informative pictures of our health.
Still, even with all these devices that aim to push us toward healthier lifestyles, the choice remains with us. Plus, FitBits or Apple Watches aren't for everybody. Google's sister company Verily has been developing wearable technologies that are a little different from the traditional wearables we're used to.

One of them is a smart shoe.

Why a smart shoe? What would it do? Let's start with some medical realities. Some of the leading causes of death in the United States begin subtly. The Surgeon General reports the second leading cause of lung cancer -- a key killer in the U.S. -- is from radon, which seeps through the soil beneath our homes. Heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, has numerous causes, but one of the biggest is obesity.

Verily's smart shoe aims to track a few different pieces of health data. Most importantly, they want to look at movement and weight. With obesity being the public health problem that it is, through the shoe, wearers and healthcare providers could look into weight trends as well as planning exercise regiments more personally tailored to movement styles. They could even identify more sinister health issues attached to sudden weight gain or loss.
The shoes would also monitor fall data. Every day, about 25,000 Americans sprain an ankle. The shoes would look for events like this, which could be beneficial to athletic trainers and active exercise participants. On the other side of that coin, the shoe could serve as a potentially life-saving piece of wearable technology for the elderly community.

Merely tracking how people distribute their weight could help diagnose pain issues. About 80% of Americans will experience back pain in their lives and this strongly affects how we stand and walk. Verily's smart shoes would be able to look at how people move and might prove better able to help identify a whole spectrum of different chronic pains.
Verily, Alphabet's life sciences branch, has tons of ideas in the health tech arena. In fact, they reported receiving $1 billion in funding earlier this year to help keep their creative innovation trajectory going.
"We are taking external funding to increase flexibility and optionality as we expand on our core strategic focus areas," said Verily CEO Andrew Conrad.
With Verily's vague statement about their strategic focus areas, it's hard to tell what exactly they're planning to focus on in the realm of healthcare technology. There hasn't been a word on the smart shoes since February, but Google is nothing if not renowned at keeping their developments mysterious until rollout. A few companies have flirted with developing smart shoes in recent years, but consumers haven't exactly come running to buy them. That could change soon.
As the technology matures, it will be interesting to see how smart shoes begin to leave their tread on the footwear market.

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