In one of the wackier gadgets I’ve seen launch on Kickstarter, a European startup is pushing a connected insole that tracks your steps and warms your feet. Called the Digitsole, you can snag a pair for $99, but as you can see from the picture above, they come with a significant drawback — you have to plug them in every night.
I don’t live in a cold climate, so I can’t really say if it’s worth $99 for toasty tootsies during the winter (although my Chicago-based colleague Kevin Fitchard scoffed at the idea,) but I can say that charging these things just looks awkward. It’s already frustrating to plug in my handset, my tablet, my activity tracker and the random other connected devices that require the occasional top off. And I don’t even own a smart watch!
Adding insoles to the mix, or Bluetooth headbands or connected jewelry, just seems to add insult to my already overburdened cables. That’s why I’m hoping that if Apple introduces a wearable device next week it will have wireless charging via a dedicated box. Already we’re seeing innovations in wireless power that could help. For example, I ordered a ring from Ringly that will blink or vibrate when my phone rings or I get a text that will come with a dedicated box for recharging the device. Yes, the box still needs to be plugged in, but it’s a start.
I’ve discussed similar boxes with an Israeli startup called Humavox and just today saw a pitch for a wireless power puck that you build into furniture from ZENS. The idea being that you then can set approved devices on a select spot on a bedside table and they’ll charge. It’s similar to one of the wireless charging mat options, only more discreet. The Wireless Power Consortium earlier this summer floated the idea of powering larger devices in the kitchen, such as blenders or food processors using a ZENS-style device, which could be awesome as we try to make that space a little smarter.
Of course, as we’re still settling on the right standard for delivering wireless power, we’re kind of stuck with specialized boxes and maybe a charging mat or table, but anything’s better than trying to jam yet another cable into a device that’s the size of my thumb.