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Yes, This Is A Thing: A Self-Tying Shoe

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's take a moment to recognize one of last year's tech breakthroughs.

TIFFANY BEERS: We have what we call a lace engine.

CORNISH: That's Tiffany Beers, a senior innovator with Nike. The lace engine she's referring to is a motor, battery and control board combo hidden in the bottom of a new Nike shoe.

BEERS: When a user steps into the shoe, when their heel touches the foot bed, it triggers a sensor. What that sensor does is it tells it that the foot's there and that go ahead and tighten.

CORNISH: And after that, with the press of a button, hands are no longer required for tying shoelaces. Beers says it's more than a high-tech fashion statement.

BEERS: If you don't have any challenges tying your shoes, it maybe doesn't change your life very much. But for anyone that has any trouble tying their shoes and getting into their shoes, you know, spending 20 minutes a day maybe putting on your shoes, I get letters from kids all the time that have various challenges. For them, this is a complete game changer.

CORNISH: Now if you want this technology in your sneakers, you can buy it, but it'll cost you $720. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.