RunSafer: A Running Shoe with Embedded Sensors Technology Helps Prevent Injuries

RunSafer is a project that aims at making running safer. Running is the most popular sport. And while it offers many health benefits, at the same time it has a high occurrence of injuries. This project uses sensors technology to warn the runner about injury risk during running. How is this achieved? First, there is a sensor in the shoes that takes biomechanical measurements while the runner is running. The sensor transmits the information to the runner’s cell phone where real time analysis is performed. Finally, the cell phone notifies the runner vocally by giving him warnings and instructions, like:

  • “Warning! You are entering a fatigue state. Possible risk of injury”
  • “Go down the speed!”
  • “Stop running. High injury risk ahead!”

RunSafer Concept

The concept was to develop a new running shoe with embedded electronics providing real time biomechanical to reduce injury risk and enhance motivation, and a web portal allowing real training management. This “sensor” shoe would have 3 parts:

  1. Running Shoe
    This is where the sensor technology is embedded with the intention to measure the runner’s biomechanical parameters.
  2. Phone Application
    The data from the sensor is transmitted to a mobile phone that the runner carries with him. Through a headset plugged into the phone, the runner can receive instructions and warnings about possible risk of injury.
  3. Web Portal 2.0
    After the runner has finished his running exercise, he can log into a website where he can transfer all his running information to personalize his training program.

RunSafer Project

To better understand the RunSafer project, let’s see the workplan overview:

  1. Biomechanical Running Profiles and System Specifications
    Biomechanical running profiles and establishment of specifications of the system
  2. Sensors and MicroElectronics Development
    Development of the technology required to construct an electronic device embedded in the sole of the running shoe, able to measure and transmit biomechanical running data
  3. Smart Running Shoe Development
    Development of a running shoe considering biomechanical criteria and comfort
  4. ICT System and Software Development
    Development of the mobile phone application to collect perfomance data from the measurement system and web application to manage runners training
  5. Testing and Validation
    Validation of the system through testing with runners