Google and Adidas launch smart insoles for tracking your soccer skills
You may remember the smart jacket that Google and Levi's launched under the Project Jacquard umbrella – an initiative to add extra smarts to clothing. Now there's a new Jacquard product on sale in the form of smart insoles developed with Adidas.
The Adidas GMR (pronounced "gamer") insoles slide into your soccer boots and keep track of your shots, sprints, and passes. A small embedded Jacquard tag – housing an accelerometer, gyroscope, and other circuitry – does the data collecting and processing.
Adidas has worked with both Google and EA Sports on the product, so you can actually sync your soccer stats back to the EA Sports FIFA Mobile app and get digital rewards for your team.
"Powered by the Jacquard tag's advanced machine-learning algorithms, Adidas GMR recognizes the actual physical movements footballers make on-pitch – measuring kicks, shot power, distance and speed," explains Adidas in its press release. "By completing different challenges and hitting longer-term milestones, users will earn rewards and improve their Ultimate Team, powering their players in-game with real-world achievements."
For example, one of the first challenges is called Master Finisher: if you manage to log 40 powerful shots in the penalty area in a real game, then you can earn coins and skill boosts in FIFA Mobile. There's even the option to compete against friends on a leaderboard.
Without testing them ourselves, we can't vouch for the accuracy of these smart insoles, but Adidas says they'll work with any type of boot. There's a separate Adidas GMR app for Android and iOS as well, to go alongside the FIFA Mobile one, and presumably some players will simply want to track their stats without the gamification element.
The Jacquard tag itself is charged with a microUSB cable, and a full charge takes between 60-90 minutes. How much game time that gives you isn't clear – all the product listing says is that battery life will vary depending on how active you are on the pitch. There is an LED indicator on the tag though, so you know when it needs to be recharged.
It's by no means the only sport activity tracker out there of course. Playertek is another company busy making wearable trackers for logging performance in soccer matches, with the added benefit of GPS logging (something the Adidas GMR insoles don't have). As wearables get smaller, more energy efficient and smarter, it's opening up a whole new way of tracking on-field activities.
The Adidas GMR insoles are on sale now in various locations around the world, and they're retailing for US$35. That's for a pair of insoles, though the Jacquard tag only needs to be inserted in the one for the dominant foot.
Product page: Adidas GMR