Google and adidas Have Unveiled a Talking Shoe, Not for Sale

After launching a limited set of its revolutionary Glass to a select number of consumers, Google have made another contribution to the wearable electronics trend. The tech giant has partnered with adidas to create a pair of shoes that come to be a true walking-and-talking sneaker. The digitally-enhanced product was unveiled at the SXSW Conferences&Festivals, taking place in Austin, TX, March 8-17.

The collaborative shoe has been developed as part of Google’s project Art, Copy&Code, launched last week. The smart Talking shoe follows Volkswagen’s Smileage application, which was the first experiment of the initiative. The new sneaker in the iconic Google color palette was created in collaboration with artist Zach Lieberman and YesYesNo. The embedded accelerometer, a gyroscope, pressure sensors, Bluetooth and other features allow the smart talking sneaker to share the wearer’s action on Google+ through a mobile app, if he or she agrees. The signal-receiving “heart” of the sneaker is placed onto one of the tongues, while the sensors are embedded into the sole.

The smart shoe actively communicates with the wearers, giving feedback on their actions—for instance, it asks to move more if they are not very active, saying “I’m growing weeds here.” Overall, it knows 250 different phrases, each delivered just in time to correspond the moment.

According to Fast Company, the new product is not for the market. It was created just to demonstrate how technology can re-imagine the iconic things, not aiming to take on Nike FuelBand or adidas MiCoach devices. “It doesn’t do any data collection, so it’s not like a Nike FuelBand. We’re doing real-time, right-in-your-face feedback,” commented the project’s developer Leif Percifield from YesYesNo to Fast Company.

While the popularity of tracking and talking apparel is constantly gaining momentum, Diesel tried to oppose the wearable electronics trend in its retro-inspired promotion.