Channel 5

Adidas Augmented Reality Trainers

Monday 22 February 2010


Rating of 3

The basics

It’s not just a shoe; it’s a training shoe. More than that: it’s a gaming device. Strange, but true. Adidas has brought out a range of five trainers, each with a code printed on the tongue that allows the shoe access to an online world. This is a virtual urban 3-D space where you use your shoe to navigate around. Point the code at a webcam and online software recognises the position of the trainer: move the shoe, and the position of the online world moves too.

The good

When the webcam sees the code on the trainers it displays an online 3-D “pop-up” street scene on your computer screen. Adidas calls this the Originals Neighborhood. This is when your shoe ceases to be a shoe and becomes a game controller instead. Although displayed on a 2-D screen, you can zoom in and out, change the depth of view or the orientation, just by moving your trainer around. Certain shoe positions will also let you interact with three games that Adidas are introducing to the Neighborhood. There’s a Star Wars shooter, a skateboarding game and a music game.

The bad

When it’s brand new, holding your trainer up to a webcam in order to play a game may well seem quirky and fun. Try it a few months later after it’s walked miles, kicked footballs, ridden skateboards, and merely been a warm home for your sweaty socks and the idea of holding your shoe in your hand might not be quite so appealing.

The bottom line

As trainers, they aren’t bad, but as a game controller they aren’t particularly easy to use. So, a fun to use short-term gimmick? Yeah. But a practical long-term gaming controller? Errrr, no.
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Adidas Augmented Reality Trainers is tagged with Adidas, trainers and augmented reality. Select a tag (Adidas, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

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