What if your smartphones could send data about themselves to your iPhone? It sounds absurd, but Swiss sock manufacturer BlackSocks has been producing “Smarter Socks” that actually communicate with the owner’s smartphone ever since 2012. And yes, you can still buy them, but they’re definitely not cheap.
BlackSocks believes mankind is made for greater things than sorting socks, so in order to save their clients some valuable time, they came up with a high-tech way of helping them figure out which two socks go together. They might have overdone it a little bit, though, as this system involves Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips on the socks, a handheld device that decodes the info on these chips, as well as a dedicated app for your smartphone. It sounds like a pretty complicated system for such a simple task as sorting out socks, but if you’re the kind of guy who likes to keep his socks paired, you’re going to love it.
Each pair of Smarter Socks comes with its own pair of RFID chips loaded with various information, the most important of which is the unique ID of the pair. Since RFID chips can’t communicate with iPhones directly, BlackSocks has also developed a wireless reader dubbed the “Sock Sorter”. All you have to do is pair this device with your smartphone, install the BlackSocks app, and whenever you get the Sock Sorter close to a Smarter Sock, it will read its individual data and send it to you handheld. This way, you’ll be able to accurately pair your socks by their IDs. Isn’t that neat?
But wait, there’s more. The RFID chips contain more information, like which sock of a pair is for your left foot, and which for your right, the date they were bought on, and the date they came off the production line. As BlackSocks puts it, this gives the sock a little CV, so you know what their life has been like. Also, whenever you pair two socks, the app registers it as a wash cycle as well, since most people pair their socks after washing them. How awesome is that?
And just in case the above isn’t enough to convince you that this is the greatest invention ever, the BlackSocks connected system also solves the problem of leftover socks. Sometimes socks get lost or damaged, but if you’re left with two socks from two different pairs, the app even lets you join them into a new pair.
Can you believe this technology has been around since 2012? I sure can’t? How is it we haven’t heard more about it until now? Well, that might have to do with the fact that people weren’t that impressed with the idea to begin with. Perusing the comment section on a YouTube video showcasing the Smarter Socks, you can almost feel the negativity. But the important thing is that the Swiss company didn’t let the negative feedback get them down. They launched the Smarter Socks and still have them listed on their site.
However, at $189 for a set of 10 pairs, they are pretty darn expensive. Maybe knowing that they are 81% Peruvian Pima cotton, 18% polyamide, 1% LYCRA® fibre will sweeten the deal?
And if Smarter Socks aren’t expensive enough for you, perhaps you’d fancy spending $1,200 on a single pair of socks made from Vicuna wool.