After smart shoes, Ducere turns to fashion footwear

They started off with the idea of making smart-shoes for the visually challenged that would help users navigate.

Now, Hyderabad-based entrepreneurs Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma are expanding their business to make the shoe a fashionable, technology-oriented wearable with diverse applications, ranging from recording the calories you lose to charting your own map while trekking through unmapped terrains.

Founded in 2011 by the two graduates from Michigan Institute of Technology with an investment of about ₹2 crore, Ducere Technologies has launched India’s first interactive haptic footwear.

After recently receiving an investment of $2 million by a consortium of Indian angel investors, it is now stepping into new interactive wearables. “This fiscal, we will be coming out with four new wearable products and these will have nothing to do with footwear,” Lawrence said, without disclosing the products.

With a manufacturing facility in China, the company aims at selling 100,000 units of its smart-footwear, Lechal , globally this fiscal, each costing $100.

Safety device
How does the smart-shoe work? The shoe is fitted with an electronic device and battery in the heel, which connects with the user’s mobile phone.

After the user tells the phone the desired destination, the app sends the command to the device and hooks up with the local map. The shoe then begins to communicate with the user through different vibrations, indicating which way to go.

“We are now expanding the applications and not limiting the product only to the visually challenged. For the fitness enthusiast, the shoe can count your steps and track your calories burnt. For the trekker, it can help discover new places, map out unexplored terrains and never get lost,” Lawrence told Business Line.

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