Fitness technology is improving at an ever faster pace which makes it tricky to predict what fantastical new products will be arriving in the near future, but one savvy way to get ahead of the pack is to check out the patents filed by the biggest sports brands.
That’s exactly what PureGym did, and by doing so it discovered a wealth of exciting ideas. Here are a few we hope end up in gyms and shops over the next few years.
Self-Charging Smart Shoes
Adidas hopes to remove the hassle of having to charge your fitness-tracking devices with these smart shoes that generate their own juice through the bending of the sole that occurs when you are walking or running. Built-in sensors will monitor your speed and steps. Ideally the shoes will have a port so you can charge other devices from them, but that might be too much to hope for.
Underwater Punch Bag
A relatively low-tech idea, which has been patented by Robert Magrino and Bernadette D’souza. They hope to design a fixture that allows punch bags to be used in swimming pools, using the natural resistance of moving through water for a tough but low-impact workout.
Restaurant Nutrition Tracker
Under Armour, the brand behind the popular calorie counting app MyFitnessPal, holds the patent on this idea, which aims to keep your diet on track by putting all the nutritional data on food at stores and restaurants in your hand. Using the GPS on your smartphone, you find the restaurant you’re in and tick off what you’re eating so you get all the nutritional info on your meal counted towards any daily goals you have.
Pulse Wave Arterial Analysis
This Fitbit patent could result in a sensor being added to wearables that can monitor arterial stiffening, which is linked to health issues like hypertension.
Tiny wires in clothes that slowly release beneficial chemicals like magnesium, which are then absorbed by the skin. That’s the futuristic notion behind this patent, which is held by Under Armour.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.