Alphabet’s life sciences arm, Verily, has reportedly developed a prototype for a shoe equipped with sensors that can monitor a wearer’s movement and weight, as well as measure falls.
The company has been looking for partners to co-develop the shoes, according to CNBC, which cited three sources familiar with the project,. However, it is unknown if the project is still active, and Verily did not respond to a request for comment.
If the project does move forward, health benefits of the shoes could include detecting sudden weight gain, a sign that the body is retaining fluid, which could be a symptom of congestive heart failure. Two of the sources said another area of interest is fall detection, which is something that Apple has introduced into its latest Apple Watch.
Verily, which was previously known as Google Life Sciences, recently raised $1 billion from Silver Lake and other investors to “increase flexibility and optionality,” said CEO Andy Conrad.
In addition to the shoes, the company is also working on projects such as a stabilizing spoon to assist those with movement disorders when eating, a smartwatch for its clinical research, and a “smart” contact lens for age-related farsightedness or to improve vision after cataract surgery.
To assist in these projects and other innovation, Verily has hired dozens of engineers, scientists and health experts to join its workforce. And it’s not the only tech company to make these type of hiring moves. Apple, for instance, has hired a slew of medical doctors to help the company develop and integrate health technologies into its Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone, suggesting that the company is working on applications to help people with serious medical problems.
And a LinkedIn search shows a handful of doctors at Amazon, including cardiologist Maulik Majmudar and family physician Ben Green.