Redmond, Washington-based Heapsylon has partnered with shoe company Vivobarefoot to sell Heapsylon's Sensoria Fitness sensor-enabled "smart" socks and to further develop the product.
The company says that all of the stores worldwide that currently carry Vivo's product will soon have Sensoria products in them, too. According to Vivo's website, there are nearly 500 such stores around the world.
The smart socks track a user's steps, speed, calories, altitude and distance while running or walking through a combination of a sensor-laden sock, electronic anklet piece and an app available on iOS and Android platforms. On the companion app, which is connected to the sock via Bluetooth Smart, a user can see his or her cadence, foot landing technique and weight distribution, which the company hopes will help users identify if they have an injury-prone running style.
In the first step of the partnership, former Microsoft exec and Heapsylon CEO Davide Vigano told MobiHealthNews that his company will benefit from the expertise of Vivobarefoot's biomechanics expert Lee Saxby to enhance and further develop the technology within Sensoria Fitness' smart socks.
"The vision of the company is that the garment is the next computer," Vigano said.
Vigano believes that putting this technology in socks could "eliminate the daily hunt for the glorified pedometer," because socks are already something most people wear -- and, for the most part, people know where to find their socks.
Sensoria Fitness finished an Indiegogo campaign in August after raising $115,882, almost $30,000 over their goal, and selling around 1,000 smart sock package. During the campaign the socks were available for $99, and now customers can pre-order them for $149. The socks will be available in Vivobarefoot stores beginning in April.
While Sensoria Fitness also offers two other products, a fitness bra and a fitness T-shirt, Vigano says the partnership will focus solely on the socks for now, and perhaps, down the line, embedding the sensors into shoes, although this is not a part of the first phase of Heapsylon and Vivobarefoot's partnership. The fitness bra and T-shirt are both available for pre-orders for $59 and will ship on March 15th.
Last year, the University of Carolina Chapel Hill used the socks to test running form in a study which looked at four different kinds of running styles.
"Most people that go for a run have a perception of where they land on their foot that is different from reality," Vigano said. "When they actually land on the heel of their foot which is a dangerous habit, perception of cadence is higher than it actually is, that's also dangerous, if cadence is too low, you can hit the ground at higher forces."
Vigano also mentioned that future partnerships may crop up from companies in the robotics and prosthetics field.