The technology-laden Xsens ForceShoe might better be described as a sandal. However, if you're the type of bipedal perfectionist who wants to analyze your gait using an array of 6DoF force sensors and magnetic trackers (not to mention that cunningly-disguised wireless data transmitter), then the chances are your toenails can also stand a bit of scrutiny. In fact, although the ForceShoe is primarily designed for physio patients, we think its inventors at the University of Twente might just have stumbled upon the next-gen Nike+ accessory we've all been waiting for. Unfortunately they're not on sale, but if you're a researcher looking to measure the orientation, acceleration, angular velocity, force and torque of your feet in three dimensions, you're welcome to hop past the break for the full press release.
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Xsens introduces powerful kinematics and kinetics tracking sensor packed shoes

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands,-31 May, 2011- Xsens, the leader in professional 3D tracking systems, today announced the introduction of the ForceShoeTM – sensor packed shoes for extremely accurate measurement of 3D motion, 3D forces and 3D torques. The fully ambulatory ForceShoe is the first commercially available system making it possible to analyze joint forces and torques outside of the laboratory. The ForceShoe brings state-of-the-art advanced biomechnical human performance analysis, out of the lab, to the real world - such as the ergonomics of a factory assembly line or the performance of an athlete on the sports field. For research use only, technology evaluation kits are available from Xsens, effective immediately.

Xsens has licensed the technology behind the ForceShoe from Prof. P.H. Veltink of the University of Twente, a leading group in advanced 3D ambulatory measurement techniques, and are now making this expertise widely available for further research in clinical rehabilitation, ergonomics and sports applications. Colleen Monaghan, Product Manager, Movement Science of Xsens explains, "We are very much looking forward to engaging in discussions with the scientific community about the different potential end-uses of this exciting technology".

Prof. Veltink of the University of Twente, adds "We are very pleased that our ideas aimed at measuring advanced 3D kinematics and kinetics outside of the restricted lab environment are now being developed further, and finding their way to more widespread use. The technology behind the ForceShoe not only concerns the measurement of 3D kinematics, force and torques but also patent pending methods to track power transfer in ambulatory settings. The accuracy of the system is carefully validated and published in close cooperation with several other leading research groups."

The ForceShoe research kit contains a pair of ForceShoes, an Xbus Master and Xsens MT SDK. Each ForceShoe contains 6DoF force/torque sensors integrated with customized Xsens MTx 3D inertial and magnetic trackers. Synchronized data is transmitted from the attached Xbus Master in real-time to a computer, running the easy-to-use MT Software Development Kit for (real-time) access to the raw, measured data.

The ForceShoe is just the first outcome of a strong research program lead by the MIRA institute of the University of Twente. Exciting new possibilities will emerge from new projects such as the ongoing "FUSION" and "PowerSensor" projects, sponsored by STW, or "INTERACTION" sponsored by the European Commission, each with strong consortiums of leading organizations in this field, including MIRA and Xsens.

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The Xsens ForceShoe watches your step, helps you walk better