For example, Google Glass puts a computer into a pair of eyeglasses. Nike's Fuelband is a bracelet that counts the energy a user burns. Now a small Redmond company made up of former Microsoft workers has managed to develop "smart socks."
The company, called Heapslyon, is making completely normal, washable socks that are embedded with sensors that users can't even feel.
"We had to invent everything from scratch," said Mario Esposito, the company's chief technology officer.
The socks feel like any other sock until you attach a magnetic anklet that feeds back information, via Bluetooth, to a computer that can not only display waveforms of impacts on the foot, but a smartphone app will eventually give a user audio cues in their ear bud when their running technique is poor.
The free app will also display east to understand graphics on how to improve their stride.
"Not just telling them how far and how fast they run, but how many calories they burn, primarily how well they run," said Heapslyon co-founder Davide Vigano. "We think there is an opportunity to prevent injuries, to tell people you're heal striking"
The true innovation, according to Esposito, is a chemical treatment inside the sock that can measure pressure.
"We treated this with our secret sauce, our sensor technology, called sensoria," Esposito said.
The 14-year veteran of Microsoft was inspired to invent the smart sock after he accidentally spilled a cappuccino on his socks. He noticed the stain and the idea for chemically induced electrical sensors came to him.
The company has spent three years perfecting its technology. They will launch a crowd funding campaign with Indiegogo.com beginning June 20th to raise $87,000 to finalize production and create the app.
If they get the funding they need, they figure the anklet, a pair of socks and the smartphone app will be sold as a bundle for $149. Early investors with Indiegogo will get $50 off and the first set of devices and socks coming off the assembly line.
Three pairs of extra socks are expected to run $60. They hope to make it available next year.