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New Running Shoe Harnesses Power Of Technology To Prevent Injuries

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While jogging keeps you healthy, there is always the risk of pulled ligaments or torn muscles. Very often such problems are the result of over-exertion, which can sometimes lead to more serious injuries, for example a broken ankle. Thanks to a collaborative effort led by scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS, runners will be able to avoid injuries and muscle overload with the help of a high-tech athletic shoe.

Working as part of a European Union project called RUNSAFER, the partners have created a prototype of the specialised shoe and developed the smartphone app that completes the package. If all goes according to plan, the high-tech trainers should reach the market by the start of 2015. They will be produced by New Millenium Sports SL, a Spanish sporting goods manufacturer and a RUNSAFER project partner.

As IPMS researcher Andreas Heinig explained, the shoes have sensors and microelectronics embedded in their soles. This makes them capable of measuring biomechanical data and determining the athlete´s form through real-time measurements. Runners can currently avail themselves of pulse-rate watches and chest straps but these will only give them data on vital signs such as breathing and heart rate. The high-tech trainers, on the other hand, monitor and assess training throughout the jogging session and provide the athlete with a wealth of information. They alert runners of incorrect foot position or asymmetric loading, as well as warning them of exhaustion or overload. The smartphone app receives the data via Bluetooth and evaluates it momentarily through specialised algorithms, providing joggers with feedback on their performance and making recommendations if necessary, Heinig adds.