Foot fetish: New “smart shoes” can tell you what’s wrong with your swing

By Mike Stachura – August 10th, 2016

We’ve heard of smartphones, smart TVs and even smart cars, but how about something we could really use: smart shoes, as in for golf.

Yup, that’s a thing.

The Kickstarter campaign for the golf business’s first “smart” golf shoes has raised more than $53,000 already and shoes are expected to be ready by early 2017. Developed over the last two years, the IOFIT Smart Shoes track weight transfer and balance in your golf swing. IOFIT, a creative off-shoot from Samsung, designed the shoes with thin pressure sensors inside the insoles to track how your feet work (or in many cases don’t work) during the swing. The cleatless shoe is designed to be lightweight and waterproof and comes in a mesh, sneaker-style version and a leather, suede wingtip option.

The information is transmitted to your phone to present in graphic form foot pressure data including pressure distribution, center of pressure, left/right balance and front/back balance. This kind of information was available to golfers only in limited ways in the past. One leading example is BodiTrak Sports, which has developed a footwork analysis technology that has been used by teachers called the BodiTrak Pressure Mat. That device was displayed at January’s PGA Show as part of FootJoy’s Performance Fitting System, which is designed to match a player’s foot action to the right shoe.

But the IOFIT Smart Shoes are employing those ideas within the shoe itself. The app, which will work on both iOS and Android platforms, includes a coaching feature that provides instant feedback on what needs fixing in your feet and how to fix it. The app even will analyze your swing vs. a friend’s to determine who’s making a better move, and it includes an optional video feature that lets you match your footwork to swing video and lets your coach make suggestions with lines and angles drawn on the video.

The IOFIT team worked with shoe manufacturers in South Korea and reportedly an engineer from Ping to develop its technology. They plan to bring the technology to other sports, but started in golf.

“In the past, the only way for golfers to get professional feedback on their swing was to hire a coach or purchase equipment that costs thousands of dollars,” said IOFIT CEO and co-founder Jacob Cho. ”Now, with just a pair of shoes and an app, golfers can quickly and smartly improve their game while having fun.”

To date, the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $54,000. Shoes can be ordered from now until Sept. 7 for $189 a pair, with delivery scheduled for February.

*Original article from http://www.golfdigest.com/story/foot-fetish-new-smart-shoes-can-tell-you-whats-wrong-with-your-swing

Samsung spinoff IOFIT launches smart golf shoes

By Tobe Attah – August 8th, 2016

Samsung recently began working with a Creative Lab project for one of their first official spinoff startups. The startup team developed the IOFIT smart golf shoes, a pair of trainers that help golfers improve their games.

“In the past, the only way for golfers to get professional feedback on their swing was to hire a coach or purchase equipment that costs thousands of dollars,” IOFIT CEO and co-founder Jacob Cho told Business Wire. “Now, with just a pair of shoes and an app, golfers can quickly and smartly improve their game while having fun.”

The IOFIT guides users via personalized feedback, offering insights into how the golfers are leaning and if they’re transitioning their weight well during swings. The shoe’s waterproof sensors are designed to detect slight changes in the pressure distribution in a matter of milliseconds.    

This shoe can communicate with users via Bluetooth through their iOS or Android app, which includes optional video-syncing capabilities, a professional swing library, and many other features to help track progress. The shoe even allows you to send your analyzed data and videos to peers and coaches, allowing users to develop their game even off of the course.

It is no surprise the shoes have garnered plenty of backers on Kickstarter. The project has already collected about $47,000 in donations, cruising well past the goal of $30,000.

“It made sense for us to launch a product like IOFIT on Kickstarter because of its strong global community of innovators and technologists,” Cho said. “We brought a very experienced product development team together from leading companies like Samsung and PING to fulfill our mission to empower golfers with meaningful data.”

The shoe’s ability to act as a virtual coach for lay users hopes to one day create a generation of golf enthusiasts ready to improve their golf swing and overall balance on the course.

*Original article from http://www.si.com/tech-media/2016/08/08/samsung-iofit-smart-golf-shoes-cleats

Samsung spinoff turns to Kickstarter to fund a smart shoe for golfers

By Paul Sawers – August 8th, 2016

IOFIT

A fledgling startup that was spun out of Samsung has turned to Kickstarter to help push its first product to market.

First announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this year, the IOFIT smart shoe is designed to help athletes and coaches access data on an individual’s performance. It comes in multiple styles and has sensors embedded in each shoe to serve up real-time insights, such as the amount of force being used by an athlete on various parts of the foot — information that can help determine balance, center of gravity, and weight shift, among other things. This data can be streamed directly to the accompanying app on a tablet or mobile phone.
IOFIT Shoes

Above: IOFIT Shoes

Salted Venture, the company behind the shoe, sought $30,000 when it launched the product on Kickstarter last week, but the campaign has already sailed past the $50,000 mark. A pair will cost $189 for early backers ($10 less than the sticker price) and will ship in February 2017.

Though the company is ultimately targeting sports enthusiasts across the athletic spectrum, these specific shoes will be aimed at the golf community and will analyze a golfer’s balance and weight shift to give them real-time feedback on their swing.

“In the past, the only way for golfers to get professional feedback on their swing was to hire a coach or purchase equipment that costs thousands of dollars,” said the company’s CEO and cofounder, Jacob Cho. “Now, with just a pair of shoes and an app, golfers can quickly and smartly improve their game while having fun.”

Salted Venture is one of a number of startups to have grown out of Samsung in recent times. The Korean tech titan’s in-house Creative Lab (C-Lab) gave birth to five new companies back in June, covering everything from smart belts to idea printers. But by turning to Kickstarter, Salted Venture is following an emerging trend in which crowdfunding campaigns are used to market and “sell” a product, though the funds and presales garnered will, of course, be welcomed.

“It made sense for us to launch a product like IOFIT on Kickstarter because of its strong global community of innovators and technologists,” added Cho.

*Original article from http://venturebeat.com/2016/08/08/samsung-spinoff-turns-to-kickstarter-to-fund-a-smart-shoe-for-golfers/

Samsung-sponsored smart golf shoes now on Kickstarter

By Brian Bennett – August 2nd, 2016

Golf is a challenging game but help — in the form of smart shoes — is on the way.

Samsung spin-off Salted Venture on Tuesday confirmed its Iofit shoes have landed on Kickstarterand should hit stores in February 2017.

With an expected sticker price of $260, early bird backers of the project should be able to scoop up a pair for a more reasonable $189. Still that’s a lot to drop on what are essentially a set of fancy sneakers packed with unique electronics.

For more details on just how these kicks are expected to improve your golf swing, and even weight lifting stats, take a look at our Iofit hands-on.

*Original article from https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-sponsored-smart-golf-shoes-now-on-kickstarter/

Golf game not on par? Putting these smart shoes on may turn things around

By  Andy Boxall – August 2nd, 2016

A pair of smart shoes that were originally conceived in Samsung’s secret innovation lab, before taking on a life of their own in a spin-off company, has launched on Kickstarter, ready to help wearers improve their golf game. One of golf’s challenges is learning how to shift your weight from one foot to the other at the right time. Master it, and your swing improves considerably. The trick is, understanding where you’re going wrong, and how it feels when you get it right. The technology inside Iofit’s smart shoes is designed to help.

Sensors embedded in the outsole measure four key aspects: Left/right balance, front/back balance, pressure distribution, and any shift in weight. Clever algorithms pull the data together to help illustrate where your weakness lies, so you get instant feedback and the information needed to make a change. The shoes can detect tiny changes in pressure, and respond to them in milliseconds.

The app is designed to be used by the individual player trying to improve, and also as a tool for golf coach. It has the option to record your swing, then plots the data collected from the shoes against the video, and compares the result to other players. It can be set up to monitor multiple shots, so there’s no need to keep stopping, making it easier to track consistency. Because swing and balance data can be shared with others, you can receive coaching remotely, complete with annotated video and a voice-over.

Designed with the help of a product designer from golf brand Ping, the Iofit shoes come in two different styles, Sport and Classic, and in multiple colors. Both have the same technical capability, and run on a coin cell battery, so there’s no need to charge them up. However, the battery will need replacing after five days of use, if you average about two hours play time each day. The app is compatible with Android and iOS, and the shoes come in sizes for both men and women.

The Iofit golf shoes have huge potential, unlocking data that most players will never have the chance to visualise, making it easier to understand. While we’ve seen wristbands, and sensors that attach to belts and clubs before, the data won’t matter if your balance, weight shift, and posture is all wrong. Putting on these shoes may fix a problem that before was difficult to isolate.

The Kickstarter campaign starts on August 2 and has a goal of $30,000. To secure a pair of Iofit shoes you’ll need to pledge $190 now, but this figure rises to $200 and $210 if you miss out on the early bird offers. There are also options to buy more than one pair. Provided the campaign gets funded, the shoes are likely to be on your feet in February 2017.

*Original article from http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/iofit-smart-golf-shoe-news/

Samsung-backed IOFIT’s smartshoes go beyond tracking fitness

By India Ashok – March 11th, 2016
Fitness Wearables: Samsung-backed IOFIT’s smartshoes are a performance machine and not just a fitness tracker
Salted Ventures’ IOFIT smartshoes offer users more than just fitness tracking featuresSalted Ventures/IOFIT

Fitness wearables are all the rage these days. Now come Samsung-backed startup Salted Venture’s smartshoes with in-built sensors, bells and whistles, promising to raise the game of amateur sportsmen and fitness enthusiasts.

The IOFIT smart shoes, which began their journey in Samsung’s C Lab, don’t just track data, but go beyond. Their features include a personal trainer-like app.

IBTimes UK spoke to Salted Venture’s marketing director Jungsoo Park on what makes the IOFIT smartshoe stand out in the wearable market. “The best thing about the smartshoe is that it’s seamless and portable. You don’t have to think about it like an accessory; it’s integrated into a daily wear product,” said Park.

Park added that unlike other fitness wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S2, IOFIT “provides data from feet”. While current wearables track activity and record data from the wrist, the IOFIT smartshoes focus on gathering data from the feet, which in turn, provides the app with the necessary information to analyse and provide performance-related information to the user.

Park said the main idea behind the smartshoes was to “create a wearable that collects data and offers viable solutions”.

The IOFIT app offers users the ability to video record their workout and then compare their performance with that of a professional golfer or athlete. This gives users a clear idea about how to go about improving their performance.

Park said that with IOFIT, the Salted Venture team has tried to ensure that while providing technological coaching back-up, the device does not disrupt the “human to human” coaching experience.

He said while there have been some requests from users at the MWC 2016 for an audio coaching feature that could perhaps provide live instructions to users during workout, the makers are at present intent on ensuring that the device remains somewhat dependent on human coaching as well.

Since the smartshoes are also targeted at coaches and fitness centres, the idea is to offer a product that makes the human coaching experience more accurate with the assistance of customised data-based technology, instead of merely replacing the human factor altogether.

The IOFIT smartshoes have so far had a successful session at the MWC in February and Salted Venture is looking forward to its Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2016.

*Original article from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/samsung-backed-iofits-smartshoes-go-beyond-tracking-fitness-1548865

If You Wear Samsung’s Smart Sneakers, You Should Skip Leg Day

By Ben Sin – March 1st, 2016

The so-called “Internet of Things” — meaning the way every device can be connected to transmit data and media — is omnipresent and have changed our lives undeniably for the better, but with a few sacrifices. The obvious, and most pressing, is privacy concerns — if you use an Android phone, chances are every step of your movement over the past however-many months/years have already been recorded onto Google’s database. Don’t believe me? Click here, pick a date, and be amazed/creeped out at seeing your entire day’s route mapped.

I can think of two more negative aspects to this Internet of Things thing:

1: having to type and say a term as dumb as “Internet of Things”

2: seeing companies try to “smartify” everything, even mundane devices. Do we really need a smart fridge? Or a smart pillow? 

Samsung, of course, are among the leaders in pushing for a smart-everything world. At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the South Korean electronic manufacturer unveiled the IoFIT, a line of smart sneakers that tracks your posture, balance and movement via pressure sensors and accelerometers stashed inside the soles.iofit 1

It’s a very cool idea — you put these on, work out, then see data with IoFIT’s own app. The guys over at Samsung even built a video-record feature into that app that allows you to record your workout and then play the video side by side with data collected from your feet — weight distribution, force of hitting the floor etc. (Though, to use the video feature, you might be confused as one of those people who bring their phones to the gym floor and take mirror selfies between sets)

iofit4

According to Samsung’s own press room and the product’s promotional video, the shoes seem to aim at the weightlifting and golf community, and while they seem to do wonders at the driving range — the Verge’s Sean O’Kane says it fixed his golf swing in two minutes — the gym stuff is problematic.

*Original article from http://www.forbes.com/sites/bensin/2016/03/01/if-you-wear-samsungs-smart-sneakers-you-should-skip-leg-day/#7513658c23ea

Iofit smart shoes first look: Fixing golf swings and squats from the feet

By Michael Sawh – February 29th, 2016

First look at the Iofit smart shoes

When people talk about Samsung and what went down at MWC, they’ll inevitably talk about Zuckerberg stealing the limelight from the Galaxy S7 launch or the Gear S60 camera that’ll let you make your own home VR movies.

But maybe there should be a few talking about the Iofit smart balance shoes that’s being developed by the first spin-off startup from Samsung.

Salted Venture’s idea was selected by the Korean company’s C-Lab as an idea with high potential and is based around a posture analysis algorithm the startup been working on for a year. That’s the same experimental lab that dreamt up a smart belt, a Gear VR controller and a smart watch strap at CES earlier this year.

The connected shoe is available in two ranges, one for golfers and the other for gym lovers. Both have the same aim, to help you train better delivering data in real time. Each of the shoes are embedded with pressure sensors in the outsole and can measure force in different areas of the foot. This can help determine balance and weight shirt, which are essential factors for fitness and golf particularly.

Salted Venture has designed the shoes itself, although it’s looking to partner with footwear companies to integrate the tech into their own ranges. For a first effort though, they actually look pretty good. The fitness shoe reminded me of a pretty standard Nike running shoe, with plenty of cushioning and a nice mesh upper. I tried a pair on and they are comfortable too. It’s impossible to spot the sensors, and because they are on the outsole, they don’t compromise the fit. It’s a similar story with the golf shoes, where there’s a bit more variety in terms of look and colour options.

The other piece of the connected puzzle is the Iofit companion app. It’s here where you can see the data collected from under the feet. You can see the centre of weight in a pressure map. and front/back weight shift that fluctuates or remains steady depending on how good or bad your form is. It seemed pretty responsive as I put more pressure on the heel or at the top of my foot and vice versa.

For golfers, there’s going to be a big emphasis on video analysis. You can record a swing, playing that video in slow motion, side-by-side with a previous video and even run them simultaneously. You can also trim the footage to hone into a particular part of your technique and draw on the videos to identify the key areas of concern.

I was shown a video of a professional golfer failing to shift the force from his back foot effectively during his swing to get the most from his action. I was also shown the fitness app in action as well comparing videos of a good squat and a bad squat. Quite quickly you can identify the fluctuation in the front/back weight shift to determine the badly formed squat.

What becomes abundantly clear here though is that this doesn’t feel like a shoe designed for amateurs and that’s pretty much what the Salted Venture tells me. This is a smart shoe for coaches and individuals who know how to interpret the data. Salted Venture openly admit they are not experts in fitness but hope the people who recognise the important of measuring force from the foot will get the most from it.

Planned features like recommendation videos from fitness trainers and professional golfers based on issues recorded in your own videos, could bridge that gap, but this definitely feels like ones for the pros right now.

Salted Venture is getting ready to beta test the shoes in fitness centres and will be handing them out to golfers with a crowdfunding campaign pencilled in for July or August this year. It has all the makings of a great wearable. There’s nothing like it out there where connected shoes from the likes of Under Armour and Xiaomi have focused on aiding runners only.

It’s expected to be priced at around the $200-250 mark and if you’re serious about improving your golf or fitness, you might find the Iofit smart shoes, well, a good fit.

*Original article from http://www.wareable.com/footwear/iofit-smart-shoes-review

5 Weird New Tech Gadgets From Mobile World Congress

By Hilary Brueck – February 28th, 2016

Every year the Mobile World Congress, which took place this week in Barcelona, showcases some of the newest and the fastest in mobile technology. But when nearly all of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers get together and jockey for media attention, things can get a little bizarre.

Here are a few of the strangest finds:


The Samsung IOFIT is designed to perfect golf swings and weightlifting form.  Samsung 

Samsung’s IOFIT smart shoes (from $199)

Help perfect your golf swing or up your squat game. That’s the promise of the IOFIT smart shoes from Samsung. Like a fitness tracker for feet, the shoes measure movement via embedded accelerometers and also have pressure sensors to gauge balance, weight shift, and center of gravity. People wearing them can analyze their form via a connected smartphone app. But the tech would be even more useful if the app pushed that information back into the shoes. For example, it would be great if the shoe could make your toes vibrate to indicate how to perfect a swing or improve your squats at the gym.


The Sony Xperia Eye.  Sony 

Sony Xperia Eye (Price not available, concept camera)

Do you wish you had a third eye that could watch and document your entire life? Maybe not, but that extra eye may soon be available. Sony’s Xperia Eye, a 360-degree camera lens being tested with both face and voice detection, allows “you to enjoy and preserve life’s moments,” as the company says. No word yet on whether it might also come with a “permanently delete this moment” feature.

The LG G5 has a 'chin' for swapping out parts like batteries and cameras.
The LG G5 has a ‘chin’ for swapping out parts like batteries and cameras.  LG 

LG’s G5 ($~700, to be announced)

The new LG G5 may just be the most circus-like new smartphone because it’s built to change shape. Users can open the phone’s so-called chin to swap out batteries or add on extra equipment. There’s a clip-on gadget that turns the phone into a more traditional-style camera with buttons, auto focus, and shutter lock. Or you can also use the chin to pop in a HiFi sound system that turns the phone into a high-quality portable speaker.


Foodini, a 3d printer for fresh food.  Natural Machines 

Foodini, Natural Machines ($1,500-2,000, to be announced)

Less nuking, more printing. That’s the future Natural Foods co-founder Lynette Kucsma envisions for a new 3D printer for fresh food. Kucsma tells Fortune that the “Foodini” is in pre-production and will ship later this year. The printer comes with empty food capsules that users fill with fresh ingredients and then pop into the printer to make homemade foods like veggie burgers, crackers, and intricate chocolates. As long as you have a little time to wait, that is.

Watch Foodini super-slow print a pizza here:

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Starship Technologies' delivery robot
Starship Technologies’ delivery robot.  Photo Courtesy of Starship Technologies 

Starship Technologies Delivery Bot (Suburban deliveries from around $1.50)

Delivery guy, meet your knee-high match. The co-founders of Skype have built a new delivery robot that cruised the floors at the Mobile World Congress. Starship Technologies, headquartered in London, may start testing the tech on streets in the U.S. later this year. But the delivery bots probably won’t be available everywhere: The company says Starship’s best equipped for suburbs, where there’s a little less sidewalk competition.

*Original article from http://fortune.com/2016/02/27/mobile-world-congress-weird-tech/

These smart shoes fixed my awful golf swing in two minutes

By Sean O’Kane – February 22nd, 2016

The Internet of Things has infected another formerly benign product that we use every day: shoes. Iofit, a company that was recently spun out of Samsung’s new startup accelerator, is here at Mobile World Congress to show off their soon-to-be-crowdfunded smart fitness sneakers.

While the idea of smart shoes isn’t terribly new, Iofit has managed to do something that feels a bit revolutionary with its Smart Balance shoes. The soles are lined with pressure sensors that help measure your how you shift your weight, how hard you’re hitting the ground, and your overall balance and center of gravity. The app visualizes this streaming data with charts and even heat maps of the weight distribution in each shoe. Each sneaker has a battery that lasts five to seven days, but they can be recharged wirelessly — so you (thankfully) don’t have to plug them in.

NO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO PLUG THEM INThe most surprising thing about Iofit’s smart shoes is that I was able to identify a few clear problems in my golf swing just two minutes into the demonstration I was given. This was all thanks to the way the Iofit app visualizes the data coming out of the shoes. Iofit’s chief marketing officer used the app to record a few of my practice swings, and then — still in the app — compared my footage to the swing of someone who is much better at golf.

The first thing he pointed out was that my hips were moving too much during my backswing. Using the in-app coaching tools, he drew a line that my hips should not cross. Sure enough, I blew right past the line during my swing. This part of the app is very robust, with slow-motion and side-by-side options, as well as the ability to put one video over another so you can directly compare footage of swings or postures.

But video coaching is an even older idea than smart sneakers. The real value that Iofit offers is the data. I was so vainly focused on the footage of my swing that it took me a moment to pay attention to the streams of data being displayed below each video. Once I did, I could really see what was wrong with my swing. The charts showed me that I was shifting all of my weight to my back foot, pushing into the ground extremely hard, and leaning too far forward as I followed through. The data from the “pro” was stark in its difference — he distributed his weight much more evenly during his swing, and was leaning less as he followed through.

The smarts would be useless if the shoes were awful, but Iofit’s Smart Balance Shoes feel great. They’re extremely light and they feel really breathable, and that’s even considering that the pair I tried on were about a size and a half too small. The fitness sneakers have grippy soles, and the golf shoes feel sturdy enough to give you the necessary support for when you’re hacking away on a course.

As we learned last week, Iofit will be bringing the Smart Balance Shoes to Kickstarter later this year. The retail price for the fitness sneakers will eventually be $199, and the golf shoes will cost $249, but each will be cheaper on Kickstarter — if you can get to them fast enough.


  • *Original article from http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/22/11092536/samsung-smart-shoes-sneakers-iofit-mwc-2016