E-Ink has many applications outside of just being able to help you read novels on your Kindle, and when combined with other technologies it could just be what we need to move away from smartphones and onto the “next” platform.


If you’re one of those people that likes to wear flashy, unique trainers, or you’re just never happy with the look of any of the footwear you keep buying, there’s light at the end of the tunnel thanks to a company called ShiftWear who’ve just shown off their new “badass” sneaker prototype that displays customised designs using an E-Ink display and an app.


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The New York based startup, which is currently trying to raise $25,000 via a crowd funding campaign in order to bring the product to market, say users can choose different colours or designs and apply them to the E-Ink display on the outer portion of the shoes. Furthermore, the E-Ink display doesn’t just display static images, it displays moving animations as well, but that said these’ll no doubt consume more battery power and the company hasn’t disclosed how long the battery will last if you run it in that mode all the time. The static images, on the other hand apparently won’t use much battery power…


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Once they’re bought to market the company says they’ll also support wireless charging and include “Walk to charge” functionality that tops the battery up with every step the user takes, and they’ll also incorporate a backlight which will help illuminate the designs in the dark so others can see them.


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ShiftWear is also claiming the shoes are durable, being able to store up to 30 days of battery life, waterproof up to 5 meters, and even machine washable. Meanwhile the soles are coated with Kevlar fibers to add an extra layer of protection from the elements, and taking it further, the app used to control the shoe design will also act as a marketplace to hock your own designs or download some from others, and it’s fairly evident from the marketing language that this will be a way to generate revenue for both the designer and ShiftWear, which would likely take a cut.

The shoes will be available in high, medium, and low tops, and a pledge of $150 is enough to get a pair of low tops, add $100 for the medium, and another $100 for the highs, and if you’re interested check out their Indiegogo page.

As for why I’m covering the story though, well, E-Ink could be one of the technologies we integrate with clothing, and as companies around the world try to figure out what comes after the smartphone E-Ink could provide part of the answer, and if you want to know how and why then you’ll have to keep an eye out for my forthcoming “Future of Smartphones 2020 &Beyond” paper which will be available in a few weeks time.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, award winning Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank working between the dates of 2020 and 2070, is described as "The Adviser behind the Advisers." Regularly featured on AP, CNBC, Discovery and RT, his ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past five years as one of the world's foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive future. A rare talent Matthew sits on the Technology and Innovation Committee (TIAC) for Centrica, Europe’s largest utility company, and his recent work includes mentoring XPrize teams, building the first generation of biocomputers and re-inventing global education, and helping the world’s largest manufacturers envision, design and build the next 20 years of devices, smartphones and intelligent machines. Matthew's clients are the who’s who of industry and include Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, BOA, Blackrock, Bentley, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Du Pont, E&Y, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, UBS, the USAF and many others.

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