- On July 31, 2018
Tech inside a shoe
Walking is undoubtedly one of the most common forms of daily exercise, regardless of age. People can change the route to make it more fun and break their routine. The fear of getting lost is the only thing that could prevent this way of making it more fun.
But the only thing that could be done to carry out the adventure is to carry a traditional GPS, which is not an option for some because it implies “carrying something else” and they want to be the least “complicated”.
The problems of having an extra device in addition to the cell phone are a thing of the past with the invention of the insoles that vibrate when the walker must take a specific route to reach the goal.
That is the basic promise and added value to this product that is designed just so that those who walk on foot not only can place that insole inside the shoe that is usually used for those walks, but they can also record the route they are making to take new routes that, for pleasure or necessity, might be interesting to them at some other time.
LeChal or “guide me”
The company making the shoes is “Ducere Technologies” and they named this specific technology “LeChal” which means ‘take me’ in the Hindi language.
The shoes are Bluetooth-enabled so they can connect to the smartphone with the software to use for free, just as Google Maps on your cell phone or mobile device.
The creators, Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, were younger than 30 when they started their company in 2011 as they were finishing their engineering studies. Their “lab” was the house where they spent their daily lives.
Like any other entrepreneurship project, it was hard at the beginning. But after six years since they started, now they have a payroll of more than 100 employees. They have been able to offer more jobs in their community and to give impulse and inspiration to other young people so they can start their own paths towards the ecosystem of entrepreneurship.
As we could read in several writings about their company, there are more than 110 engineers, designers, assembly workers, business personnel, and various departments that have strategic partnerships with other companies that provide raw materials.
It is interesting to see the growth that every small business has to go through to scale, detect new customer needs and to become a company that wants to go beyond its borders to be a global organization.
In fact, these smart shoe insoles also have their complete sports shoe version for those who want to acquire them. The company already has distributors for the US., Middle East, Europe markets and of course in India. Its website has already launched other products with the “LeChal” brand.
“This is a process that often takes a long time, it is usually frustrating, but it is extremely rewarding in the end as it allows us to fail, move quickly from one idea to another… And to know that we have tried and tested and are trying and testing everything in each step of the way” – explained the entrepreneurs of the company as they were interviewed by a specialized magazine.
The creators speak
The shoes vibrate to direct the user and tell them whether to turn to the left or to the right. It also offers the distance you walked, the calories you burned and the number of steps taken along the way.
“We understood this idea and we realized that it could really help the visually impaired or people with other needs because it works without any audio or physical distractions. It feels very liberating because you do not have to look at your phone or be tied to anything. The shoe works instinctively. Imagine if someone touches your right shoulder, your body reacts naturally to turn right, and that’s how LeChal works,” Lawrence said in an interview with AFP News.
The bootstrapped, as this type of technological footwear is also known in a stage of its growth as a device, had an initial investment of USD 250,000 and the company raised USD 2.5 million until 2013.
The Data (the creative spark)
India has the world’s largest population of people with visual impairment, according to the World Health Organization. One in four cases of visual impairment in the world is found in India. This fact was the main need detected in their business model when they were just in the process of innovation.
The social contribution
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each pair of LeChal footwear is intended to subsidize a pair for someone who has visual problems.
“If you want to contribute to the initiative or if you want to suggest an organization which we can partner with, contact us. AND DONATE A PAIR,” as it can be read on the LeChal website. A startup that has gone through the stages of growth in innovation and it even has added a social contribution.
Then, let’s walk to the rhythm of the vibration!