A recent Qualcomm patent has registered blueprints and design details for what the company is calling ‘The Internet of shoes’.
The American telelcoms equipment and semiconductor manufacturer filed the patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for an internet connected shoe.
In the past, internet connected shoes have used a device that links to the wearers smartphone in order to track data. This ‘internet of shoes’ will ostensibly go further than past examples and offer more functionality.
The application states that the device is “A connected shoe apparatus, comprising: a processor; a memory coupled to the processor; a radio; an antenna; and a magnetometer, wherein the connected shoe apparatus is wearable as a shoe by a user, and wherein the processor is to: determine the direction the connected shoe apparatus is facing with the magnetometer, and transmit information associated with the direction to a second device via the radio and the antenna.”
The Qualcomm patent alleges that the shoes will be able to recharge just by walking and could also contain vibration motors, pressure sensor pads, a motion sensor, a pulse sensor, a blood pressure sensor, or a body temperature sensors
The decision for companies to move into the wearables space is one that makes sense, as the market is set to explode. Gartner estimate that the wearables market will reach an estimated value of $72 billion by 2020, almost twice the $39 billion it’s valued at today. Smartwatches alone will account for $20 billion of this, compared to $13 billion today.
Similarly the continually accelerating growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen a number of seemingly bizarre and unconventional products make their appearance including the smart jacket, Project Jacquard, from Google and Levis.
It’s unclear when, if ever, the product will actually arrive as patents are usually just used as a means to mark a potential avenue that the patent holder may pursue in future.