MEGAComfort, a manufacturer of anti-fatigue mat insoles for industrial footwear, will release Energysole, a smart insole, for Spring 2019. The Energysole will feature activity sensors in a patented, dual-layer insole that are designed to generate step-by-step performance data in real time. The new product will also have an interactive platform for data collection and analysis, which is intended to be used to increase employee engagement and safety in the workplace.
Dr. Kevan Orvitz, creator of the MEGAComfort Energysole, explained that the Energysole will use the same dual memory foam as previous MEGAComfort products, which has been the basis of the company’s anti-fatigue and orthotics insoles for more than 15 years. The Energysole will also feature sensors that capture information on the user’s steps up to 50 times per second, and render a 3-D image of the user’s foot in real-time—all information the wearer, as well as his or her employer, can use to determine issues related to health and the work environment.
The insole itself will function much the same as MEGAComfort’s existing offerings as an orthopedic support. “The design and function of the insole component was primary, and incorporating the tech was secondary,” said Orvitz. “Finding the placement of the sensors without compromising comfort was the key.”
As part of the product’s development, Orvitz said, MEGAComfort conducted research at occupational health and safety trade shows. “Research, evolving trends and evaluations of current need gaps, combined with one-on-one conversation with leaders in trade, helped with the proof of concept,” Orvitz said, adding that the company’s work at trade shows demonstrated a need for the technology, by the primary users and managers.
While there are other wearables on the market designed to provide similar data about physical activity, they’re typically worn on the wrist, which MEGAComfort contends compromises the accuracy of data about gait. The EnergySole will offer analysis on different surfaces and in use with different footwear in an interactive app platform. The insole will also collect information such as movement scores, foot strike analysis, calories burned and sit/stand analysis.
The platform is intended to be used by companies to see where employee health hazards may exist and to allow individual users to understand their own daily activity to cultivate healthier habits. The app will also allow for integration with corporate wellness initiatives and reward programs, and allow users to set individual and group wellness goals. Instead of a charger, the insoles will run on a replaceable battery, eliminating the need for users to charge them overnight. Orvitz said the company’s intent is to make the Energysole as simple and comfortable to use as possible, to encourage consistent use and steady data collection.
“The ultimate goal is to make individuals safer and healthier at work,” Orvitz said. “Musculoskeletal disorders are the number one cause, and cost, of workplace incidents.” Orvitz said that analyzing the movement of employees can head off health problems before they start, saving companies money while also protecting the health of users.
The Energysole is set to release in Spring 2019.