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.

via Wired and The Verge

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3 Comments

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  1. That’s nice. Now I have to check new shoes for hidden tracking devices.
    In conjunction with a cell phone, these can reveal just about everything you’re doing. The cell phones can tell google pretty much exactly what you’re up to already (although data collection is normally limited to what can be easily analyzed automatically), but this adds footprint by footprint location tracking to it (unless you turn bluetooth off of course).
    Here’s an example of what that can lead to:
    https://www.androidauthority.com/google-location-data-cyclist-suspect-1091027/
    More data means more charges they can pin on you.
    I don’t even see soccer players benefiting much from it. They’d have to keep a phone on them at all times, and that’s an expensive, fragile distraction. The pros also have these things called coaches who can examine and analyze player foot movements for them.