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Adidas Develops Game-Controlling Augmented Reality Shoe

| 4 Jan 2010 20:31
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Even if you don't dream about sports all day, this new Adidas shoe may be for you.

The Adidas Originals line is truly living up to its name with a new product set to release in early 2010. Adidas has created an augmented reality shoe which will give access to a virtual world and also control games. If that makes no sense to you yet, you're not alone.

Augmented reality is just what it sounds like: reality augmented by some virtual element. Games like Ghostwire use augmented reality, but another common form involves holding real world objects up to a computer's webcam. The objects will have some type of symbol or code that is read by the webcam and associated software, which will then display an image or play a video on-screen, making it appear to exist in real life through the computer and therefore "augmenting" reality.

The new Adidas shoe will have this code on its tongue. When held up to a webcam, an entire virtual world is displayed, sort of like a "pop-up book" which is navigated through the shoe. Three videogames that can be played through the shoe are being developed by a company called xForm: a skateboarding game, a Star Wars-like game, and a music game. Exact controls haven't been revealed, but Chris Barbour, head of digital marketing for Adidas Originals, says: "you can use your shoe to control the angle and depth of view and zoom in and out, giving a 3-D sense of perspective," hinting that the tilt of the shoe will be the control method. As long as they don't involve tying and untying shoelaces over and over.

This is a neat idea, but I'm not really sure I want to take off my stinky shoe to play a game with it, especially if I stepped in something earlier in the day. With the shoes priced at $65-$95, Adidas has still sort of kept the product in an affordable range depending on the quality of the shoe, making the augmented reality games more of a bonus. There doesn't seem to be any specific details out there on what the shoes will be called or what kinds of shoes the augmented reality code will be included with, but I'm sure Adidas will start advertising for them soon.

Source: Wired via CVG

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