LeChal – Endless Opportunities At Your Feet5 years ago Saloni Anand
Wearable technology is an undeniable trend and many brands such as Apple, Nike, Samsung and Google are all bringing out products to satisfy consumers’ demand and growing awareness for new products. A lot has been publicized about smart watches – Does that mean the future of wearable technology is all about wrist-based devices?
Not really, Indian startups are doing a great job innovating in this space. Lechal, the fashion and lifestyle brand from the Hyderabad-based Ducere Technologies, offers interactive haptic footwear, innovated in India and built for the world.
Derived from the Hindi le chal, or ‘take me there’, the brand introduces two products, the first is an insole which can be slipped into any footwear to make it interactive and a shoe with the same technology embodied in it. Each priced at around $100.
Based on haptic technology, it uses the sense of touch imparted through simple vibrations. Both the products works with a bluetooth enabled reversible and rechargeable battery that pairs with the mobile app to send vibrations to the user. All you have to do is charge the pod and its ready to reuse. Set a destination, a tap on your right foot, turn right. The shoe will take you to the destination. The sole is made of high quality polyurethene and can be machine washed.
Ducere founders Anirudh Sharma and Krispian Lawrence, graduates from University of MIT and Michigan, initially designed the product for the visually impaired. As a perfect companion to the white cane, it will orient them in the right direction and helps in navigation. The LeChal initiative aims at creating a unique buying experience for everyone by subsidizing cost for visually impaired. They plan to start with a subsidy of 30 and 50 percent but their goal is to make the product available for $1. They are currently working with the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad for product testing. The institute will help them execute this initiative.
Lawrence and team is now working on Obstacle detection system specially for the visually impaired. The device will be presented in the Ophthalmology Congress to be held in Tokyo by Dr Anthony Vipin Das from the L V Prasad Eye Institute.
The innovators soon realized the interactive footwear is for everybody. LeChal could be used by fitness freaks to set goals, count steps, view an adaptive calorie count and even share milestones with the LeChal community. It will automatically send a notification to your phone about the places nearby, and is smart enough to warn you through the shoe if the phone is not in proximity.
Lechal is highly interactive and easy to use, the app starts with one touch and also accepts voice commands. You can control the app just by using the volume button on your phone. It will work in any region that has been mapped by the Google Maps API.
In an interview, Krispian Lawrence informed that the initial investment, a couple of crores were their personal savings. The first round of funding will be around 5 crore and the deal is to close soon. The investor said that he estimates the wearable technology market in India to reach around Rs 50,000 crore over the next decade.
Ducere Technologies envisions to deliver “The Ultimate User Experience” through products that are intuitive and unobtrusive, facilitating every user to evolve to a higher lifestyle. So lets hope that the shoe gives the right direction to the wearables industry and change the way we live!
The company is taking pre-orders through its website from March 7 and hopes to start shipping within three months from that date. Place your order at http://lechal.com.