back to article It's the Internet of Feet: Lenovo shows smart shoes, projector keyboard phone

Chinese tech giant Lenovo has been showing things it’s making and things it wants to make at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing. Cool gizmos include a display technology for smart watches that produces a virtual screen bigger than the watch. The company calls it “Magic View”. It’s a small screen below the main watch screen that …

  1. Mage

    I don't know if I want any of these ...

    But compared to Apple's Watch that only extends an iPhone, their dustbin styled workstation, It sounds like Lenovo are actually trying to be innovators?

    These are more than USPTO documents (that often today are entirely copying prior art).

    The Apple Newton was a good attempt. But Jobs killed it when he came back.

    I wish I could afford a Lenovo laptop,

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: I don't know if I want any of these ...

      Used Lenovo laptops are rather affordable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't know if I want any of these ...

        New ones are pretty cheap too.

        But which "New York based Symbol" that is "part of Motorola" is the article going on about? The Symbol Technologies bit that was sold off by Motorola last year?

  2. Adrian Jones


    How do they project the black screen on to a white desk?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Intriguing...

      You cynic. I bet you doubt stuff on Kickstarter too.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Intriguing...

      Simplez, they use a black light LED.

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: Intriguing...

        But do you want to project to the world that you have such a pain in all the corns down the right side of your foot?

        Don't answer that - your shoes are 20,000 times more intelligent than you are...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Intriguing...

          Don't answer that - your shoes are 20,000 times more intelligent than you are...

          20000*0 == 0

    3. Justicesays

      Re: Intriguing...

      If the laser is powerful enough the desk *will* turn black.

      Just ignore the smoke and/or flames associated with this process.

      Pat pending for "Projection of laser of a power level that will char a surface without causing ignition".

  3. James 51

    The virtual keyboard is a better fit for tablets. Can it make a virtual trackpad as well for selecting text or moving the cursor around? As long as you had a good stand, doesn't chew through the battery, is accurate and responsive I can see a market for it but those are big ifs. I doubt if blackberry are that worried, particularly as their keyboards can be used on the move.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As the article explains, finger tracking is a problem with this type of kit. Usually done by infrared. I have an early-ish laser projection keyboard; and in order to use it you ave to completely adapt your typing style so that keypresses come from vertically above the key you want to hit with an extended finger, so that the sensor can get a good enough read of your finger's position. It's awkward and there's still a few misfires; even with practice. OK for tweeting, I suppose, but (if mine is anything to go by) you're not going to be blamming articles out.

      And yes, projection will go through the battery.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        There are a few ways of creating virtual keyboards and trackpads on desks. One way is to use infra-red. Another way is to use two cameras, a la Kinect or LeapMotion. A third way is to use a couple of microphones or transducers, and processing to ascertain the location of finger taps from sound.

  4. Christian Berger

    This reminds me

    Back in 2000 there was an Austrian series of documentaries called "Schauplätze der Zukunft" (stages of the future) where they showed smart shoes made buy a guy called Joseph Paradiso. They were supposed to control the lights and the TV, open doors and operate the microwave oven.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: This reminds me

      Back in 1965 there was a US show called Get Smart! which featured Smart's shoes. They had reliable telephone functionality, which makes them more advanced than many of today's smartphones in at least one respect. (They also featured better styling than typical "wearable devices".)

  5. NozeDive

    Here we go

    "Ready to go for a jog?"

    "Yeah, but hold on. Let me turn on my shoes, first."

    "Oh crap! My shoes are almost out of battery!"

    "Wait up guys, I just have to reboot my shoes first. I'll catch up to you later."

    "UGH! My shoes can't get a signal in here!"

    "Oh, no, sorry, I can't come with you right now. I just plugged my shoes in. They're still charging. I... have to... charge my shoes before I can go outside."

  6. Tony Haines

    //The economies of shoe production ... Branding and distribution are also major costs as is the disposal of unsold stock.//

    Can't they just push unsold shoes (that they can't even reduce the prices on) into shoe recycling bins for free?

    Well, it would be easier to hand them over in bulk, but regardless - surely disposal can't be a big cost.

  7. Rick Brasche

    amazing technology!

    they can actively project "black"! :P

  8. Gordo Rex

    I want those shoes!

    Shoes that show my mood on a screen! Which can then be projected onto a wall! So that everyone around me knows how I feel!

    I realize that some people will point out that humans have spent thousands of generations refining the ability to read someone's mood from tiny moves of facial muscles, but this is so much better!

    Especially if it has a sarcasm indicator!

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: I want those shoes!

      "Shoes that show my mood on a screen! "

      If the TV is up to standard my shoe does indeed show my mood on the screen, more usually through it.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Shoes, really?

    Maybe if I could put them on and tap out a text message in morse code with my toes as I walk along, maybe they might have a use.

    However, I have hands for that purpose. If I ever lose those, then maybe this invention might have a use there, but in the meantime, I don't see a point in this.

  10. Stevie


    All your croc are belong to watch.

  11. Queasy Rider

    I have a use

    I have been waiting for years for a phone projector system. I have scoured guitar tablature sites for a decade and a half, collecting, editing then finally converting to an offline website over a thousand songs, hyper-linked and searchable by title, year, or artist, along with mp3's of every song in the collection, plus hundreds of TouTube how-to videos teaching general guitar techniques and many specific songs. Unfortunately I only know a handful by heart, even though I can play literally a thousand more when I have the words and chords up in front of me. My solution was to buy a 17" laptop to drag around with a charger and extension cord, in addition to my guitar. While that works, it is less than satisfactory. First I have to find a way to set up the laptop so that it is safe from drunks, dogs, children and just plain clumsy people, myself included. Then if other players want to join in they have to crowd around me, squinting over my shoulder to view the screen. And of course, if I'm away from a power source for any time, such as over a long weekend camping, then I either have to carry extra batteries or solar panels for the laptop. That just ain't gonna happen. I would love to ditch the laptop (it's old, heavy, has Windows' Vista, and fragile) and only carry my smart phone with me on my motorbike. The whole mess is about ten GB so I can store, (and share) it on a thumb drive or a flash chip. With a phone projector all I would then need is a surface to display upon, like a large sheet of white cardboard nailed to a tree or stapled to a fence, or propped up om a picnic table. I'm no Lang Lang but I've been ready for years to do the same thing on guitar as he did on piano with a smart phone. Bring it on Lenovo, make it affordable, and I'll be standing in line.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I have a use

      Quite a few classical musicians use iPads for displaying sheet music, used with a foot pedal to change page. Given the size of many instruments, carrying a 10" tablet isn't much of extra burden, especially since it can replace piles of dead-tree manuscripts.

      The problem with a projector is that you might be asked to play outside in sunlight, or inside with moving stage lights.

      1. Queasy Rider

        Re: I have a use

        Yes, I've seen that, and I know a guy that is into bluegrass and designs his own instruments. He has made a number of dulcimers that can accommodate an ipad under the strings displaying the chords, lined up perfectly with the strings. Very clever really, but I can't afford (and don't want) an ipad. It's an Apple (say no more) it's way too small a screen for my purposes, and I'm trying to get away from carrying around so many battery operated and expensive devices. After i wrote my comments I looked up cell phone projectors and found many relatively cheap ones. Maybe I should be thinking of them in the meantime, but they seem pretty feeble. Anybody here have any experience with them?

  12. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad


    Yet another acronym in the making.

    SoS = System on Shoe.

  13. John Robson Silver badge

    Smart shoes are a bad idea as pointed out...

    Smart insoles could have an application - although beyond being a pedometer I can't imagine what.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Smart shoes are a bad idea as pointed out...

      There are a few applications for smart insoles. First up, they are a natural for using piezo-crystals to generate their own electricity.

      There has been research that looked at using vibrating insoles to imp[rove the blance of elederly people, for whom a trip or fall can be a very serious matter. The concept is that their nerves are less sensitive, so by vibrating the insole they become more sensitive to their posture through 'stochastic amplification' - basically the original stimulus plus the movement of vibration exceeds the wearers detection threshold.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Smart shoes are a bad idea as pointed out...

        Hasn't someone tried to link GPS to shoes to give directions to walkers? Have to get the standard fixed, turn towards or turn away from vibrating foot?

  14. Jusme

    Internet of Feet?

    Damn, almost got a little excited there ;)

  15. Trigonoceps occipitalis


    Vibrations and Tinder are a natural tie up - not necessarily in a shoe.

    1. Queasy Rider


      Yeah, more in a sock, but not on your foot.

  16. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Foot computers are old hat

    What, no one else has read The Eudaemonic Pie?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like