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adidas launches adidas_1, the World's First Intelligent Shoe

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March 6, 2005

adidas launches adidas_1, the World's First Intelligent Shoe

adidas launches adidas_1, the World's First Intelligent Shoe

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March 7, 2005 Adidas has launched the intelligent shoe it unveiled last year. Known as adidas_1, the shoe provides "intelligent cushioning" by automatically and continuously adjusting itself. It does so by sensing the cushioning level, using sensors. It then calculates whether the cushioning level is too soft or too firm via a microprocessor and adapts with a motor-driven cable system to provide the correct cushioning for the specific purpose at that time. A prime example of the convergence process in which computers are embedded in everyday objects to enable them to play their role more effectively, the adidas shoe is one of a number of intelligent clothing items arriving at market this year. Available now, adidas_1 costs US$250 or 250 Euros.

The shoe will be launched on television in the United States with a new television ad called "Hello Tomorrow". The commercial was directed by Spike Jonze and the music composed by Squeak E. Clean featuring Karen O of the "Yeah Yeah Yeahs". The commercial opens on the face of a young man waking up. He is surrounded by darkness, as if the world has been erased. As he sits up, a pair of adidas_1 shoes roll onto the screen and onto his feet. As they magically tie themselves, the lights of the adidas_1 interface come alive, signaling that the shoe is now on.

As he takes his first tentative step forward, a portion of the floor appears; he takes another step and more floor appears. As he continues walking, he creates the world around him. A door appears. The view moves outside the room, and the screen shows only the doorway floating in darkness. Back to the young man, he smiles, steps back in the room and decides to go for it. He runs full speed and leaps into the blackness.

As he lands, a new world is created with every step. He runs through different landscapes from city streets to forests to familiar sidewalks. As he runs, it is his steps that are creating new scenes. He even lies down on the sidewalk and puts his feet in the air, and a new world appears above him. The commercial ends with the young man back in bed and a product shot of the adidas_1, followed by the text, "The World's First Intelligent Shoe". The ad signs off with "Impossible is Nothing".

"adidas_1 is the proof of our brand attitude, Impossible is Nothing," said Uli Becker, Head of Global Communications for adidas. "Since this intelligent technology is a revolution to the footwear industry, we wanted to create a campaign that is equally unique and unexpected. Just like the ad illustrates, with the adidas_1 you experience a new world."

"Our challenge in creating 'Hello Tomorrow' was to showcase the adidas_1 shoe while capturing the idea that every step taken would be different," said Chuck McBride, Creative Director North America, TBWA\Chiat\Day.

The campaign will be supported by outdoor, point of sale, public relations and Internet. The Web site features a new technology wherein the onscreen landscapes actually move and change as the user moves the cursor, meaning each site visitor has a unique experience. It can be accessed at the shoe's launch web site.

In development since 2001, the adidas_1 senses the cushioning level on every step, understands whether the cushioning provided is too soft or too firm, then adapts itself to provide the right level of cushioning.

The shoe is one of the the most advanced ever made. Its sensor works by measuring the distance to a small magnet at the bottom of the shoe, takes 1,000 readings a second, and is accurate to a tenth of a millimeter. It understands via a small microprocessor capable of making five million calculations per second. And it adapts with a motor-driven cable system that spins at 6,000 rpm, faster than the blades of a helicopter.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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