Running technology together

Nike and Apple have unveiled a system which allows a sports enthusiast’s training shoes to talk to the wearer’s iPod to give feedback on performance, record workouts and provide motivational music.

The Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless dongle that allows Nike+ footwear to communicate with an iPod nano, was unveiled at an event in New York attended by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe.

Nike has designed its Nike+ Air Zoom Moire to talk to iPod and has plans to make more shoes Nike+ compliant. Information on time, distance, calories burned and pace is transmitted from the shoes, stored on the iPod and displayed on the screen.

The Nike+iPod Sport Kit bluetooth transponder uses a proprietary 2.4 GHz signal to transfer information to the iPod, effectively excluding third party manufacturers from making compatible wireless accessories.

Real-time audible feedback is provided through headphones. A specialised online iTunes music store will be available for use with the kit, and users will be able to personalise their training through a Nike website. There will even be a facility to press a button to instantly blast out a ”power tune” to help users get through a particularly tough bit of training.

Armstrong, who is preparing for his first New York Marathon, said, “If you can incorporate time, distance and calories burned together and make it function for both the fitness runner and the high level athlete, it will take working out to a whole other level.”

“I definitely use music both ways,” Radcliffe said. “I listen to faster music if I am doing a workout in the gym to just get the best out of myself, but I also use it to help me relax in the build-up to a big race.”