If Shoes Could Talk…

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A very interesting gadget was displayed at South By Southwest this week, in the interactive section, and by none other than the Search Engine mega-giant, Google themselves. A very interesting device, that’s basically a shoe, that can sense what the user is doing and talks to them about that activity, often being quite the trash-talker. This is part of a project Google is undertaking known as ”Art, Copy, Code”, basically something that turns inanimate objects, such as shoes, into interactive, and playful experiences with a now semi life-like device.

The device could be used as a constant motivator to help someone lose weight, for example, if you’re standing still for too long, your shoes might say to you something like: “If standing still was a sport, you’d be world champion,”.  And then, if you’re moving around, playing sports getting exercise, the shoe will equally reward you for that kind of behavior, with its more friendly comments and compliments. While it may seem a little ridiculous to try and get on your shoes’ good side, users have said that once they’ve strapped it on, this sort of became their natural goal. I guess someone’s (or something’s) constant nagging, will do that to you. It’s sort of like having your own little robotic exercise coach strapped onto your feet for most of the day.

While some people may be looking at this new device as another one of Google’s time and money wasting projects, that has not real value to anyone who would even think of buying something like similar to it (and let’s face it, they’re not entirely wrong), Google’s Aman Govil the project lead pointed out that: “It’s explicitly aimed at how translating how Silicon Valley thinks about technology into how creative agencies think about advertising,” . Interesting. I’m not sure what talking shoes has to do with advertising, but we’ll take his word for it. I just hope my next pair of shoes don’t start telling everyone around me at the movie theater to start drinking more Mountain Dew, as I prefer an ad-free shoe experience.

Surprisingly however, the shoe might actually have some real uses, such as for professional athletes, or just anyone who wants to get physically fit, to be able to have  their entire aerobics work-out regiments tracked and recorded in real-time as they do their work out, so they can go back, analyze, it and refine it later.

Most devices like this currently are on the market require someone to hold you responsible for whatever goals you set, and this new device plans on taking others out of the equation entirely, by giving you a new robot friend instead, to keep you motivated enough to achieve your goals. Hopefully people don’t realize that it makes no difference what a robot says it thinks of you, or the whole plan is for not.

This is just the beginning for Google, who plans on extending this technology to many other random but everyday items in the near future.  As far as if any of these will actually have any real uses and marketability, remains to be seen, but so far, it seems more to be a bid by Google to once again “revolutionize” technology, while not really adding that much new value in the process.

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