Task Unification: Under Armour ‘Smart Sneaker’ Uses Task Unification and Attribute Dependency

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Task Unification: Under Armour ‘Smart Sneaker’ Uses Task Unification and Attribute Dependency

UNDER ARMOUR VIA U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

Wouldn’t your regular workout be that much better if recovery time was reduced to a minimum? Under Armour thinks so and has just filed a patent detailing two versions of a sneaker in development. The sneakers are aimed to reduce recovery time by monitoring an athlete’s blood pressure via their running shoe. One version of the shoe demonstrates the Attribute Dependency Technique and the other version also incorporates Task Unification. These are two of the five methods that make up Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

Attribute Dependency works by creating (or breaking) a dependency between two attributes of a product or its environment. Task Unification involves assigning an additional task to an existing resource. And that resource is in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we called The Closed World. Essentially, it’s taking something that is already around you and giving it an additional job.

According to Under Armour’s patent application, the first version of the sneaker links to a wearable device much like a Fitbit which transmits the athlete’s blood pressure reading. That would then be used to adjust the sneaker’s sole for optimal blood flow. In other words, it’s Attribute Dependency at work!

In the second version, the wearable device is left off since the sneaker itself contains a blood pressure detector, allowing for adjustment of the shoe as needed. This version is a perfect example of how many innovations incorporate multiple innovation techniques at once. In this case, it’s both Attribute Dependency and Task Unification, as the shoe takes on a new function of reading the athlete’s blood pressure in addition to adjusting for optimal fit.

According to Fox News,

In the patent filing, Under Armour said the sneaker is meant to help its wearer recover after a “strenuous workout.”

“There exists a need for a device and method to effectively pump blood through the plantar venous plexus and support recovery after engaging in athletic activity,” the company wrote in its filing, dated June 25.

Systematic Inventive Thinking is something everyone can learn. And you can utilize either of these techniques to innovate helpful products. Visit these links to learn the step-by-step process for using Task Unification and Attribute Dependency.

Photo: Under Armour via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office