Missing socks? There an app for that

NATASHA BAKER
Last updated 17:18 09/10/2012
Blacksocks
ODD: A screenshot of the Blacksocks app.

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If matching socks is a daily problem, a new app that sorts them into pairs and even lets users know when it is time to buy a new pair may help.

The free iPhone app called Blacksocks is the brainchild of the Swiss luxury sock company of the same name. It helps their customers match socks that are embedded with a chip.

The app tells users which two socks are a pair, the date they were purchased and how many times they have been washed throughout their lifetime.

Although some critics may dismiss it as a useless waste of technology, Blacksocks founder and CEO Samy Liechti said it serves a purpose and is fun.

"It's a gadget and a lot of people, especially men, like gadgets," he explained. "Most of the buyers are tech-savvy early adopters."

Black socks, which are prone to fading more than lighter colours, make up 80 per cent of the men's global sock market, according to Liechti.

"Socks wash out after a while. If customers have several socks from us washed out in different degrees, we thought we should help them sort socks more precisely," he said.

A wireless device called the Sock Sorter scans each sock, matches it to its pair and indicates if it is for the right or left foot.

Users scan their socks until the app notifies them that a match has been found. The device also identifies lone socks and can tell owners when it is time to buy a new pair.

The app has been tested on 2000 pairs of socks, according to Liechti.

"We did a lot of testing and worked together with guys who usually evaluate satellite pictures where there are also several degrees of gray. They helped us a lot in analysing the data we get out of the camera," he said.

So far, the company has sold about 500 starter kits, which include the Sock Sorter and 10 pairs of smart socks.

The kit, which costs US$189, is both fun and useful according to Liechti.

"There's this expression, gamification, everything becomes more playful, and so we thought why should sorting socks not be playful as well."

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- Reuters

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