Project active

 Fall 2018 - September 2020

Problem: 

Injuries due to improper form are the most common running injuries.

An unobtrusive shoe insert to monitor the foot’s impact with the ground in order to evaluate running form.

Solution:

Summary

Smart Strike is a thin insert which lays discretely below the sole of a runner’s shoe. It has three sensors that track how the foot impacts the ground. This data is evaluated and presented to the user through an app so that they can monitor their progress on optimizing their form.

Improving running form can help both prevent injuries and ease safely back into activity after recovering from an injury. Smart Strike is unique because it allows individuals to monitor their form without the assistance of a personal coach. It also is able to track progress over time on a large and small scale. It can evaluate how the user’s form has changed from month to month and also within each individual run so that the user can see how their form changes as they get fatigued.

Spencer Miller (middle right) and Will Kaigh (right) receiving award for Smart Strike as the Overall Best New Idea at the Oregon State University pitch competition November 2019

Current Progress

We currently have a working prototype for Smart Strike. We are using three resistor sensors, one at each common contact point of the foot, to measure the force of the foot’s impact at each location. The sensors are encased in a slim heat-sealable waterproof fabric that is less than 1/20th of an inch thick. The Smart Strike insert slides discretely beneath the sole of your shoe, you can't even tell you're wearing it.

The data from the sensors is transferred to a mini SD card that is located on the Adafruit Data Logger. The data can be viewed by removing the mini SD card and inserting it into a computer. We also have the beginnings of the Android app built. Using the app, the user can see how their form was for their recent run and also see a log of all their previous runs in order to improve over time.

The prototype is completely portable with its own rechargeable battery pack. All of the electronics are enclosed in a 3D printed housing unit that attaches to the runner's shoelace via a clip. We also implemented an on/off switch that is accessible through a slot in the housing in order to track multiple runs.

The Smart Strike team qualified for the Invent Oregon statewide final competition in Summer 2020. We worked all summer on improving the prototype, completing market research, and developing the app. We were awarded $2,500 in prototyping grant money, plenty of mentorship opportunities, and workshops to further our product and business plan.

Sadie Thomas with the winning check after the preliminary InventOSU round

Future Goals

The Smart Strike team working hard at a weekend build session

The next step for Smart Strike is to improve the analysis algorithm and further develop the app. The app will include visuals to help the runner understand the data, as well as give suggestions for long-term improvement. We also want to enable instant feedback through Bluetooth so that runners can correct form errors in the middle of their run. As for the physical product, we are looking into implementing a custom PCV board and making the entire unit waterproof. We will also be testing Smart Strike for durability with extended use.

Check out this Smart Strike Demo video to see how it works