India Innovates Smartshoes

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Ducere Technologies launched the world’s first interactive haptic footwear under their wearable technology brand LECHAL (pronounced lay-chal, meaning “take me there” in Hindi).

Unveiling the brand LECHAL (an umbrella brand by Ducere Technologies for all wearable technologies), Krispian Lawrence, Co-Founder and CEO of Ducere Technologies, introduced two products: Insoles and shoes.

The company started in 2011 by two young Indians has now grown to 50 employees in the city of Secunderabad in the newly-formed southern Indian state of Telengana. It is now a globally recognised innovative brand in wearable technology. India is upping the stakes in the wearable gizmos market with a slew of start-ups from Bangalore to Chennai and Hyderabad, innovating and looking towards world domination.

The footwear was initially designed to help the visually challenged with mobility through unobtrusive means; it was soon realized that this innovation can come handy to everyone. This thought was further developed to launch stylish footwear with an interactive, haptic based navigational system guiding the user towards their destination through simple vibrations in the footwear.

Another well-meaning thought behind launching lifestyle tech-enabled footwear was to subsidize the cost of the footwear for the visually challenged. Higher sales of the stylish LECHAL footwear would substantially reduce the cost of footwear meant for the visually challenged, who can use the footwear to assist them in navigating their own way.

The shoes are a natural extension of the human body,” said Krispian Lawrence. “You will leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes.

The shoes can be used as a more accurate way to record distance travelled and calories burnt, said Mr. Lawrence. Some of the unique features of LECHAL are that it offers a hand-free experience; one can give a voice command of direction to the application and the user can also tag locations with landmarks. It also helps to stay connected with other LECHAL users through which one can share routes as well.

The Indian engineers have studied and worked in the United States; Anirudh Sharma co-founder and CTO (Chief Technical Officer) is a graduate from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Krispian Lawrence, co-founder and CEO(Chief Executive Officer) is a pass-out from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The shoes and the removable insoles are designed and developed in India, but manufactured in China. The shoes and inserts will come in red or black and be priced between $100 and $150. The company will hit select stores in September, Mr. Lawrence said. He already has orders for 25,000 pairs and expects to sell 100,000 by March next year.
Ducere is also tying up with non-profit organizations and eye institutes to sell LECHAL products to the visually challenged at a more affordable price.

While we can’t buy Google Glass in India yet, Indians will be the first in the world to get access to what could be the next big thing in wearable technology: the smartshoe.

Ratanpriya Sharma

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