ShiftWear M1Here’s an idea that makes more sense than it sounds. If only you think about it. Startup ShiftWear has launched an Indiegogo funding campaign for sneakers with integral “Always on, HD color, E-paper, Flexible” displays, which can be customized from a smartphone app. The Indiegogo campaign targets $25,000, and is already at just over $3000 at the time of writing.

“Change designs as easily as you change your phone’s wallpaper,” says the ShiftWear video. I’m not actually suggesting that anyone will be reading e-books on their sneakers. (Although advertising slogans and Twitter alerts, for instance, are far more of a possibility.) But wrap the same screen around your wrist or forearm, and what have you got? The kind of wearable e-reader or display that futurists have been speculating about for years. Put that together with solar power, and Bluetooth sync it to your phone, and we’re so far into e-reader nerdgasm territory it’s not even funny.

As I read ShiftWear’s literature, an inner voice is screaming: Why isn’t this tech already on e-readers? What has Amazon been doing? Standing around? “The technology and components have already existed for years now,” ShiftWear claims. “Its a matter of the different components smoothly working together. We just can’t release our trade secrets for how we get it done, because of competition.”

Bear in mind that this is Indiegogo. And although the ShiftWear promo video looks awesome, there’s no actual tech demo that I can see on the campaign page. Still, with the kind of graphene flexible display tech breakthrough we’ve already covered, and Sony’s FES e-paper watch just about to hit the shelves, such implementations are likely very soon to graduate from vaporware to sweaty-sneakerware.


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