Forget wearables, Motorola wants to bring you stepables

The Internet of Things has emerged as a fertile creative breeding ground for manufacturers, but it’s up to you to decide whether that turned out for the better or the worse in this particular case. Motorola, the inventor of such historic mobile breakthroughs as the first handheld phone and the original portable modem, is now at taking its shot at shoemaking. The gimmicky connected kind.

Detailed in one of the latest of its patent filings to have entered the public domain is a pair of shoes with a sensor in each sole continuously transmitting a low-range signal to one another. When you take a step forward and the accelerometer attached to the sensor in the lead shoe cues that your foot has touched the ground, the other shoe will calculate the distance from its mate based on the signal strength.

That data is transmitted to the wearer’s mobile device, which can then multiply the average size of each step by the total number of pings received from the sensors to calculate the distance you covered. And the internal clock can be used to provide the total time spent walking and help make out the average speed.

In other words, everything you could already do with just your phone. It can’t measure the length of each step, sure, but that’s not that big of a deal unless you’re a particularly dedicated speed walker willing to spend several hundreds dollars on a sensory-aware pair of shoes from Motorola to make absolutely sure you never cross into jogging territory. All of which begs the question of why the company decided getting into shoemaking might be a good idea.