Google, Adidas, and Electronic Arts have teamed up on a new smart shoe insole that combines physical activity, digital activity and… video game rewards.
The new Adidas GMR insole sells for $40 and it can be used with any set of soccer (football to most of the world) shoes. By tracking the motion of your foot it can identify patterns and determine when you’re running, turning, or kicking to pass or shoot the ball.
And… oddly enough, this all ties into a FIFA Mobile game that runs on your smartphone, allowing you to earn digital currency or gain new in-game skills by performing real-world activities (Wired Magazine suggests one goal is to make “40 powerful shots in a week”).
The GMR insole uses Google’s Jacquard technology, which was first introduced to the world during Google IO 2015 as a way to weave conductive threads into textiles, enabling things like touch-sensitive clothing — like the sleeve of a Levi’s Trucker Jacket.
But more recently Google has been expanding Jacquard beyond conductive fabric — there isn’t any involved in the Adidas GMR insole.
Instead, the idea is to place a small electronic gadget in an ordinary wearable item like a shoe insole. It has the computational power to do on-device data processing using Google’s algorithms (and a gyroscope and accelerometer) so that it can analyze your motions whether your phone is nearby or not.
Then when the shoe and insole are within range of your phone, data can be synchronized to the FIFA Mobile app.
While the initial application for this technology is gaming, it’s not hard to imagine how this sort of technology could be used in the future to help perfect your form during various sporting activities.