Proving that great ideas can come from anywhere, two MBA students enrolled in Babson College located in Wellesley, Mass., have received an $11,500 grant from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and the Lemelson Foundations to commercially develop their Stridekick running shoe tracking device.
While most road and trail runners are told and know intuitively that shoes have a life of between 300 and 600 miles, actually deciding when to retire a shoe from use generally falls into the category of "make a good guess." Plus, when you wear multiple pairs remembering which is older and has seen better days can be tough. Podiatrists and running shoe companies have long held that shoes frequently need to be retired long before serious wear is noted on the shoe, where worn-down outsoles may happen long after the support and unseen midsole is toast.
Students Todd Peavey and Jim Biggins enrolled in a Technology Entrepreneurship course at Babson, a course designed to require students to assess new technologies and resulting market opportunities for potential new ventures. In the class, the two developed a prototype that consists of a force sensor, micro controller and display. The tiny, disposable device attaches to a shoelace and determines the total mileage on a given shoe, even alerting a runner when a shoe has reached designated mileage points, meaning no shoe need be run past its prime.
Apparently, the two have already received licensing inquiries regarding the now patented technology.
SNEWS® View: Now that's what we call making the most of an educational opportunity! As owners of way too many running shoes, we'd delight in such a device to help us keep their wear straight.