Smart shoes, perhaps? Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190350306) that will allow shoes to tell you when they need replacing.
It’s dubbed “shoe wear-out sensor, body-body sensing system, unitless activity assessment, and associated methods.”
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A system assesses activity and displays a unitless activity value. A detector senses activity of a user. A processor reads sensed activity data from the detector. A display displays the unitless activity value. An enclosure houses the detector and the processor. The processor periodically reads the sensed activity data from the detector and processes the data to generate an activity number, the number being used to generate the unitless activity value based upon a maximum number and a display range.”
In the patent filing, Apple notes that shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet, as well as physical support 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 wants to save your sole (your shoe’s sole, that is). Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.