Salted Venture, K-ICT Born2Global Centre's member company, makes smart wearable devices. However, while other smart wearable device manufacturers focus on measuring the wearer's heartrate, breathing, and distance traveled via a smart band or watch to ascertain the wearer's current status and total calories burned, Salted Venture goes one step further. Designed especially for golfers, the company's IOFIT smart shoes actually teach the wearer proper golf posture.
Salted Venture's primary product, IOFIT is a golf shoe with a sensor installed in its sole. This sensor not only takes highly accurate measurements of the current state of the wearer's body but also provides a mobile fitness coaching solution through a linked smartphone or tablet. While most golf coaching devices focus on the upper body aspects of the user's swing, IOFIT collects data on weight transfer, which is directly related to driving distance, and displays it in real time so the wearer can check whether he or she has assumed the proper posture and properly transferred his or her body weight from one foot to the other at given times during the swing. In addition to data on the wearer's swing, IOFIT uses data on posture, weight transfer, and other skills of professional golfers as a standard for comparison, allowing users to further enhance their skills.
Salted Venture CEO Cho Hyung-jin said, "Although some exercise devices currently on the market boast excellent performance, they are not much more than glorified step counters at best. IOFIT, however, uses data from the feet (plantar pressure) and video images of the body (center of gravity) to detect common bad golf habits that the wearer may not even be aware of, such as slicing and duffing. It then displays this data to the wearer so that the necessary improvements can be made. The data is also used to help prevent injury and increase performance." The IOFIT was recently used for KPGA training and a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) training seminar. It is also used at coaching academies run by famous Korean pro golfers such as Choi Jong-hwan, Na Seung-uk, and Jang Jae-shik. Domestic pro golfers and coaches who use IOFIT have praised the product as "a pioneering force of the golf coaching market."
Putting a large and expensive golf simulator in a shoe
The idea behind the IOFIT was to replace the typical golf simulators used in the golf coaching market. The simulator commonly found in professional golf coaching centers is a device that consists of a high-speed camera, computer system, and ground reaction force sensing device, which measures changes in the user's center of gravity. Until now, this type of golf simulator was very expensive and available to only professional golfers and students at golf academies. With the development of IOFIT, customers can now get a device that does everything equipment costing over $20,000 can do for the much lower price of $359 to $399. As a result, IOFIT has popularized the golf coaching market, allowing anyone who loves golf to experience the center of gravity-based coaching that was previously available to only professionals.
For Cho, the hardest part of the development process involved the characteristics of the shoe as a smart device. Contrary to smart watches, smart bands, and smart clothing, shoes must be highly durable, as they are not only subject to intense pressure and resistance from being in constant contact with the ground, but can also get wet when it rains. Moreover, the sensor inside the shoe must be highly sensitive and capable of analyzing the user's movements in the short time it takes to make a swing. In other words, the shoe had to be durable and sensitive at the same time. After literally thousands of tests, Cho finally managed to balance these two factors perfectly in terms of design and the production process, marking the birth of IOFIT.
For more detailed information on the Salted Venture, visit http://iofitshoes.com/