The Technology

Obstacle detection and alert

SmartStep shoes utilize an ultrasonic sensor on the toe of the shoe to scan the user’s environment for obstacles by sending a high-frequency soundwave into the environment. When the soundwave bounces back to the shoe’s receiver, its time delay can be interpreted to determine the presence and relative distance of any obstacles off of which the soundwave had bounced. This information is processed in an Arduino embedded within the shoe which sends a pulse to the vibration motor any time an obstacle is detected.

Shuffle detection and alert

The SmartStep app takes real-time readings from an embedded accelerometer and analyzes the upward component of the shoe’s motion. The app then processes this data to detect the peaks in the shoe’s upward acceleration and compares it against a “shuffle threshold.” This threshold is based on the user’s own observed walking patterns and is calibrated to the specific wearer before use. If the upward motion of the person’s foot is less than the calibrated threshold, the phone vibrates to alert the person that they are shuffling.