When it comes to hi-tech sneakers Adidas is the #1 a number it well deserves since they introduced early 2005 the Adidas 1 high-tech sneaker with integrated running computer.
Five years later, Adidas takes on again the high tech arena combining footwear with the virtual world as interaction object with the launch AR (Augmented Reality) sneakers.
The AR sneaker range does not involve this time much of wearable technology as seen in the Adidas 1 but they open the door to the online world of gaming and social networking. A simple marker sewn into the tongue is the key to that world.
Hold the square AR marker in the tongue in front of the computers’ camera and you enter Adidas’ Flash-based app which will then superimpose a virtual world on top of the shoe that moves in real time as you move the shoe in front of the camera.
It’s a simple demonstration of how to link physical objects with the virtual world but more sophisticated interaction with Adidas sneakers is in the making as they plan to release a couple of Online games using the AR sneaker as interaction device.
Shoes as input device for computer games might not sound very logical but seemingly playful concepts like this one represent a important steeping stone when exploring more sophisticated, more ‘sensible’ solutions for the future. One has to start somewhere and playful learning paves the way for creativity and innovation.
Although the wearable technology involvement in the AR sneaker range is very little, I believe that technology enhanced clothing design should utilize the technological possibilities to establish a link between our activities ‘in the cloud’ and our real life.
This can be in a playful, purely emotional form and/or to add functional sense by linking, by integrating our outfit with the WWW-cloud.
The Adidas AR range, featuring 5 different models are available in US and various European countries retailing between $65.- and $95.- just look around in your real world neighborhood where to get a pair as you need them to enter the virtual neighborhood of Adidas.