Every technology has a not-so-fancy starting point, and that’s exactly the case with Nike’s Back to the Future II inspired self-lacing shoes, the HyperAdapt 1.0. For an insane $750 (in USD), you get $200 shoes with a few motors, a pressure sensor, and a light. Smart? Nope. Innovative? Maybe. Pivotal point? Yes!
For those of you who haven’t already read about these shoes (or for that matter, watched Marques’s or Jonathan’s videos), here is what you should know about HyperAdapt 1.0:
In 2015, Nike announced the Nike Mag with self-lacing technology that used motors to “tie” the lace. However, the Mags are an extremely limited produce, and there was no way you could get this technology in consumer shoes. Until the HyperAdapt 1.0.
The HyperAdapt 1.0’s have, what Nike calls, ‘adaptive lacing’. Quoting from Nike’s press release: “When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten,” explains Tiffany Beers, Senior Innovator, NIKE, Inc., and the project’s technical lead. “Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect.”
The light in the bottom of the shoes show battery levels, and under that is a magnetic connector for charging.
So why shouldn’t you buy it?
First, it is costlier than a baseline iPhone. Second, the technology is still very, very primitive.
Nike considers the HyperAdapt 1.0 to be a first prototype for their adaptive lacing technology. The company's final aim is to make shoes that understand and continuously adapt to the needs of your feet. Depending upon whether you are waking or running, the shoes will lace themselves loosely or tightly to ensure your feet’s comfort. And the HyperAdapt 1.0 just don’t have this technology yet.
Don’t get me wrong:
If you really have the money to buy $750 shoes, do consider the HyperAdapt 1.0. Not only will they be awesome shoes to show-off, but they will also be a crucial piece in Nike’s history.
So what’s next?
Nike will be releasing a lot more shoes with adaptive lacing in the next few years, but only time will tell how successful they’ll be in attracting customers, especially athletes, to use this piece of technology. Probably my biggest want is Nike making this affordable and way more advanced.
But I’d also be interested in buying shoes that do a lot more than lacing themselves. A GPS module, accelerometer, and a highly sensitive pressure sensor, along with Bluetooth support and an app that can control the colourful lights in the show (so that you look cool) will make for awesome running shoes. Remember those Nike+iPod days? That’s what I’m talking about.
The HyperAdapt 1.0s are fuelled by one source of inspiration - a 1970’s sci-fi movie. Adaptive lacing was a chase to make a prediction in a movie a real thing, and Nike has done it. Building upon it will be crucial for Nike to sell these for-the-moment gimmicky shoes.
BTW, where is my levitating skateboard, Boosted?
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