Running faster, safer and smarter
safer and smarter
Pretty soon, runners will be able to analyze their running technique in a way they have never been able to do before. Dutch start-up ATO-gear has teamed up with Quad Industries to develop a printed pressure-sensitive insole that tracks every movement of the runner’s foot.
Thousands of snapshots every second
“There are plenty of fitness trackers available for monitoring what you have been doing. They measure things like heart rate, speed and distance,” explains Jurgen van den Berg, CTO of ATO-gear. “But there is currently nothing on the market that analyses exactly how you run biomechanically. We are about to change that with ARION.”
The core of the ARION system is a razor-thin, printed insole, which is fitted inside the running shoe. This unique device features eight embedded pressure sensors located at strategic points under the foot. It takes thousands of snapshots per second to measure the way the foot strikes, absorbs impact and rolls off the ground, resulting in a precise biomechanical model of the runner’s foot.
The sole is combined with a Bluetooth transmitter to connect to mobile devices and a free App which provides users with real-time feedback, easy-to-understand metrics and precise coaching advice to enhance their performance.
Teaming up with Quad Industries
Being a small company, ATO-gear realized that they would need a technological partner to develop the insole. “Given the many challenges to be met, we were looking for a partner with major experience in printed electronics”, explains Jurgen van den Berg. “The shoe is actually quite a hostile environment for printed electronics. The sensors are subjected to dynamic loads, shear forces, humidity, varying temperatures and even a range of aggressive chemicals employed to sanitize the shoe.”
ATO-gear met Quad Industries at a fair in the Netherlands and immediately recognized the potential for a successful collaboration. Other partners were considered as well, but Quad Industries presented the start-up with an important advantage: they could not only develop the sole, they could also deal with the manufacturing side.
“Once we joined forces, we were astonished at the speed of delivery and the quality of the first fully functioning sensor prototype. Quad Industries has proven to be a very professional company combining technical expertise with a no-nonsense approach,” enthuses Jurgen van den Berg.
In the shops by Christmas
So what does the immediate future hold? “We hope to get the first sensor equipped insoles into specialist shops by Christmas,” states Jurgen van den Berg. “The ARION system is already being tested by a select group of specialist retailers and professional athletes. Their feedback and experiences are now finding their way into the final product.”
Find out more about ARION