Monday, November 14, 2011

Smart Adidas shoes let you mimic your favorite athlete

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A new “intelligent” soccer cleat from Adidas promises to allow you to compare your performance with the game’s greatest players.

The innovative shoes, which contain an embedded chip that records and analyzes a player’s performance, have already been worn by star footballer Lionel Messi. The technology allows the German sporting goods giant to show you what you did and how it compares to previous efforts, friends and world-class players.

(No word on how the shoes will help you get over the bout of depression you’ll face with that last one.)

The cleats are the product of two years of research and development, Adidas says, and are yet another attempt to gain a competitive edge over American rival Nike, which counts star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo among its stable of top-flight athletes, has a similar product in its Nike Plus platform and whose gains in the sport have been sizeable, at Adidas’ expense.

The smart shoe is a digitized version of the company’s f50 adizero, introduced in 2010 as the lightest cleat on the market, at just 165 grams. Now, it carries an eight-gram chip slipped beneath the sole that wirelessly transmits data, including maximum speed, distance covered.

The company is marketing them as the “football boot with a brain.”

The footwear runs on a modified version of Adidas’ miCoach platform, which was first introduced in 2006 for runners. Soccer, which involves 360-degree movement that’s more complicated than simple forward progress, represents the next step for the technology.

Unsurprisingly, the company says it’s investigating similar applications for basketball, tennis and American football in the first half of next year.

The shoes will go on sale in Europe, Asia and Latin America on Nov. 15 for 245 euros, or about $338. The U.S. receives them Dec. 1.


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