The company describes an embedded sensor that tracks your activity and alerts users when their shoes are worn out.
Apple has patented ‘smart shoes’ that would come with embedded sensors to track your activity and tell you when you needed a new pair. Instead of wearing an additional sensor, people would just have to wear the shoes, where the technology would be less visible and be a more seamless part of your lifestyle than an external tracker.
The patent application notes the importance of a good pair of shoes:
Shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet. More importantly, shoes provide physical support for feet to reduce risk of foot injuries. A shoe is often necessary to provide support during intense physical activity, such as running, soccer and American football. As a shoe wears, physical support provided by the shoe decreases, thereby reducing associated protection from injury. When a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.
Apple’s shoe wear-out sensor would either feature as a thin built-in layer or be located in the heel. It would include a processor configured to measure the use of the shoes and determine whether they were worn out, and an alarm that informed the wearer when they were no longer providing adequate protection for their feet.
Engadget reports that the sensor could also connect to an external display. This could be used for alerting you about worn out shoes via your iOS device.