It wouldn't be a tech conference without a ridiculous wearable prototype. At Lenovo's Tech World in San Francisco today, the company brought out a smart running shoe made in collaboration with outsole maker Vibram. It runs on an Intel Curie wearable chip and performs most of your standard fitness tracker functions. (No heart rate monitor.)
The partnership has been in the works for more than a year, but the gadget is now a fully finished prototype. As just a proof-of-concept, the shoe isn't really anything a consumer can expect to find in stores any time soon. But it is a step in the right direction toward wearables that offer the benefits of a fitness tracker while retaining the modest aesthetic of a standard pair of sneakers.
It's far more attractive than other fitness trackers on the market
The shoe counts your steps and tracks calories burned, lights up along the bottom, and contains a customizable 3D-printed insole. It can also charge wirelessly if you place it on a shoe-sized charging panel. One unique function you couldn't easily replicate with a wrist-worn fitness tracker is using the shoes to play games. Lenovo set the pair up to work with an endless runner-style mobile game, and you can use your feet as a controller to step back and forth. You can easily imagine this extending to some type of on-the-go version of Dance Dance Revolution. Is it practical? No, not really. But it's definitely more useful than your run-of-the-mill wearable.