In 2009 I had a personal drive to come up with something that I could have considered a game-changer. Not just as a functional force to generate an extra income but as something that would have pushed people in adopting it, naturally, self-driven because was simply filling a gap in people’s life.
At that time the wave of wearables that so much is moving the market forces today (2014) wasn’t there. The demand wasn’t as near as strong as it is estimated to be today. Some forecasting is pretty bullish about the future of the wearable market and data does support that vision.
My thinking at that time was:
There is a general need of understanding more about what we do with our body, we as human like to “count” everything.
We walk in a parking lot and look at the number of cars parked and judge “many” or “almost empty”. We aim to track our weight, food intake, we monitor our cash in terms of numbers, not in terms of purchase power.
Some call this phenomenon as quantified self. At the time of my revelation, I didn’t know about that movement, which now I am pretty sunken in. My definition was “people count everything” supported by the belief “nobody is offering good assistance to that habit”
I understood that some purchase-workflows are impacted by the lack of knowledge or by the fear of the unknown. As part of that realization, I had to pick an area to explore what was broken in an en exiting system. I ended up picking the workflow of buying shoes online.
Will it fit? What if I have to ship them back because of the poor fitting? Or undelivered expectations about their style? Will they be ok for this or that activity? During my exploration of the problem, I ran into multiple ways (all wrong) to fix what I considered a broken scenario for consumers.
While I was debating on what I was missing in my logic of addressing that problem, my wife Victoria spilled a cappuccino cup over my feet. At that time I wasn’t wearing any shoes. They were next to my chair at Panera Bread restaurant near Redmond. While the socks were absorbing the black of the coffee into the drink I realized that I was trying to fix the wrong part of that broken scenario.
I was attempting to understand how to process information from consumers about their sizing so that better recommendations could have been provided at purchase time. It was a compelling idea but the real issue was:
every foot looks similar to the next man’s foot of the same size but every body distribute pressure on the ground and against the walls of shoe in a different way. Therefore perception of comfort is very subjective to a point that the traditional sizing scale won’t cover.
And the ultimate conclusion was
There is a need for a more accurate way to determine what’s comfortable and what’s not. That realization was the spark that drove me to design what is known today as Sensoria, a smart textile pressure sensor.
In working on the problem I came to the conclusion that the technology could have addressed a very large base of other uses. Beyond fitting and more specifically in human biomechanics behaviors and its tracking. Since the inspiration that led to that conclusion sparked from the shoes I stuck to that topic and started working on prototyping.
If you care to learn more shot me a comment and based on that I will post more.