I saw the Puma tennis shoes Saturday night and figured I would email you guys some information about them, assuming anyone is interested. The company that did them was named T&C for Yash Terakura and Gerry Cohen, both ex- Commodore Business Machines employees as I am. It was around 1986, maybe a little earlier.
The electronics of the shoe itself was designed by Yash which benefited from his background and contacts in Japan as that was where mass production was mostly done back then.
The algorithm that converted the impulses from the shock sensor into distance was developed in conjunction with University of Pennsylvania Bio-Engineering Department, one of those early places where you would see people swinging golf clubs with little dots attached to their bodies.
Basically the algorithm maps the length between footfalls to the distance of the stride and and tries to determine the distance covered.
The project was also co-owned by a maker of extended memory cards for the early PC, as in the 4.77mhz IBM PC. It might have been IBM that did the card, however I don’t remember.
The promotion of buying a memory card with the Puma shoes and the cord was called:
“Jog Your Memory”.
It never did quite take off. By the time I was involved we were looking at the issues vs. fixing it or letting it kind of die a quiet death. We chose the latter unfortunately, but the ones you have may be examples of the first electronics in a shoe (or anywhere else?) as I definitely didn’t know anyone else doing this back then. Lol… I recommend you put them in a glass case as they should be pretty rare.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
It should be noted the original concept and design was done by Atari’s Grass Valley R&D think tank in 1983-84.