In Japan they take foot odor very seriously.
The Japanese cosmetics company Shideido has developed a new line of high-tech shoes that connect to your smartphone. However, unlike other high-tech shoes which collect information on how many calories you’ve burned and how many paces you’ve taken, these shoes tell you how smelly your feet are.
The very appropriately named “Sensing Shoes” line of footwear consists of a model for men and a model for women. Although they may look like typical shoes, inside them you’ll find special sensors designed to detect both smell and moisture. You make use of the smell-detecting functionality of the Sensing Shoes by pairing them with a smartphone and using the Sensing Shoes app to activate the sensors. Once everything is set up, all you have to do is press a button on your phone and in no time at all you’ll get both a numeric value representing how stinky your feet are and a corresponding level, which ranges all the way from a benign 1 to a very concerning 5.
This interesting project was overseen by the development team working on Shiseido’s AgDEO24 line of deodorant products and althouh it is primarily a way of promoting their line of anti foot odor products, the idea is actually not such a bad one. In Japan, a country where you often have to take off your shoes, being able to check whether your feet are stinky in a discreet way before having to decide whether you want to go to a Japanese style restaurant where you have to take off your shoes, might be something a lot of people would find very useful.
Shiseido also released a video to their YouTube channel showing the Sensing Shoes in action. The video follows one male and one female member of the AgDEO24 development team as they go about a regular day, all the while wearing the Sensing Shoes. At the end of the day, they have the shoes detect their smell levels, and much to the surprise of these anti-odor experts their numbers come out quite high. The male for example, gets a level 4, which according to the on-screen text means that his foot odor might be noticeable to people around him. Meanwhile, the female gets an even more concerning 5 and a warning that she should be very careful in situations where she has to take her shoes off.
As for the shoes themselves, Shiseido made sure they looked fashionable by using shoes made by the Japanese shoe company, blueover. For the male pair Shiseido used the “marty” model and for the female model they used the “mikey” model.
Although Shiseido has no plans to sell the Sensing Shoes, they do intend to have models available for people to try out at blueover’s Osaka location from December 1 to 7.
Check out the promotional video for Sensing Shoes below.
Interestingly, just a couple of months ago, NextTechnology, which is the commercial branch of the National Institute of Technology Kitakyushu College, showed off a much less discreet way of detecting foot odor. Their invention was a cute puppy with the ability to “sniff” feet and report how stinky they are by either barking to indicate all is well, or fainting when foot odor has gotten to dangerous levels. This adorable robot dog, whose name is Hana-chan (a play on hana, the Japanese word for nose, and a common girl’s name), was apparently developed over the course of several years and unlike the Sensing Shoes it is set to go on sale in 2018 for somewhere around $1,000.
Check out adorable little Hana-chan below.
Here is video of an earlier prototype of Hana-chan named Shuntaro.