Saturday, March 8, 2014

Interactive Footwear

By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy Ducere Technologies

Lechal Shoes by  Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma
Bluetooth-enabled footwear

Developed by two young Indian techies Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, Lechal, is the world’s first interactive haptic footwear that began as an innovation for the visually impaired but is applicable to everyone…

Focused on making wearable technology non-obtrusive and intuitive, this shoe-smart phone navigation device is controlled via the phone’s volume controls making it extremely convenient. 

Lechal Shoes by  Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma

So how does it work? An app loaded on a smartphone pairs with the footwear via Bluetooth. The user interacts with the app to set a destination and based on haptic navigational system, the footwear guides the user there through simple vibrations. For instance, if the user needs to go left, he will feel a vibration in his left shoe. The app fetches the local map of the area while GPS tracks the person’s location in real-time, telling the actuator to vibrate, when it is time to turn.

Lechal Shoes by  Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma
Unisex bluetooth-enabled insoles

Lechal Shoes by  Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma
Krispian Lawrence unveils LECHAL shoes

Besides its use in navigation, Lechal can also be used as a fitness tracking system - to count steps, track calories and create interactive workouts. “You can also go on a trek, discover new places and never get lost,” assures Krispian.

Taking intuitiveness to a new level, the footwear allows a user to tag locations and set destinations by using gestures like tapping one’s foot. The footwear also ensures that you never leave your phone behind.

So what is the inspiration behind these tech-savvy, stylishly designed shoes? Tinkerers and design geeks at heart, the partners believe that technology should be integrated into one’s life without the hassle of being a device. It is with this belief their firm, Ducere Technologies innovates to develop one disruptive product after another.

Lechal Shoes by  Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma
World’s first interactive charger – snap your fingers, listen for audio feedback – know your charge status – compatible with most portable devices

Talking about maintenance, the material used for the shoes and insoles is antibacterial and washable, but do remember to remove the electronics chip first. Also, the shoes come with a USB charger that responds to finger snaps, by emitting an audio tone indicative of the charge level.

Finally, as their dream was to create a navigational tool to help the blind, the offer is: for every pair of shoes (priced at $100) sold, a subsidized pair will be offered to the blind at $50!

Lechal footwear is available for pre-order from March 7, 2014 on its website www.lechal.com

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