Using the Nike+iPod Sensor

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Using the Nike+iPod Sensor: Authorized and Unauthorized

Nike + iPod Sport Kit
Nike + iPod Sport Kit. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

The Nike+iPod Sports Kit contains a shoe sensor meant to go into the special pocket underneath the sockliner of Nike+ ready shoes. It also has a receiver that plugs into an iPod nano. If you have an iPod touch and iPhone 3GS or later, you don't need the receiver, they have that built-in. But the shoe sensor can be used in unauthorized ways with other shoes.

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Using the Nike + iPod sensor in a Nike Plus Ready Shoe

Nike + iPod Sensor in Nike Moire Shoe
Nike + iPod Sensor in Nike Air Zoom Moire Shoe. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

To use the Nike+iPod sensor in the specially designed Nike Plus ready shoes, remove the sockliner and then remove the dummy plug from the sensor pocket.

Press the Nike+ sensor into the sensor pocket.

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Replace the Sockliner in the Nike Plus Ready Shoe

Nike Air Zoom Moire
Nike Air Zoom Moire. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

Once you have placed the Nike+ sensor in the sensor pocket, replace the sockliner or put in your own chosen insoles.

Calibrate the Sensor: On first use in a pair of Nike+ ready shoes, you should calibrate the pedometer for your walking and/or running stride. This is an easy process if you have an outdoor track handy. Step by Step on Calibrating the Sensor

Nike+ Ready Shoes
The sensor will work most accurately when tucked safely and securely in the pocket under the sockliner of Nike+ ready shoes.

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Using the Nike+ Sensor on Other Shoes

Nike+iPod Sensor Attached by Tape
Nike+iPod Sensor Attached by Tape. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

You can use the Nike+iPod sensor on other shoes, although you will want to calibrate it each time you attach it to get the best accuracy.

Quick Tape Method: My first method was just to use packaging tape. I tucked the sensor underneath the shoelaces and then criss-crossed packaging tape over it. Duct tape would probably work fine as well, but you don't want any kind of tape that would shield the wireless transmission. Aluminum foil is an especially dumb idea.

Sensor Should be Untilted and Secure: The Nike+ sensor is a piezoelectric accelerometer that is fairly tolerant of being at an angle. But you want it to be close to being parallel with the ground, as it would be under the sockliner of the Nike+ ready shoes.

You want the sensor to be held securely, not bobbing or swaying, and to be parallel with the ground and not tilted.

Sensor Pouches: Top picks for sensor pouches for your shoes.

Accuracy: Right out of the box, uncalibrated, and taped to an unauthorized shoe, I got a distance estimate within 10% of what a Google Map Pedometer said I walked over 2 miles. That's as good as any pedometer can be expected to be. I would expect more accuracy after calibrating it.

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Attaching the Nike+ Sensor to Your Shoe With Velcro

Velcro
Velcro. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

You can securely attach the Nike+iPod sensor to most any shoe using velcro. As the sensor might be at a slight tilt, you will need to recalibrate it after you created its new velcro attachment.

Note that once you have attached the Velcro, you would have to remove the Velcro to use the same sensor in a Nike+ ready shoe. Velcro is cheap, so it would be possible to simply replace it each time you watnted to switch. Or you could use one sensor for the Nike+ ready shoe and one for other shoes where you need to attach it with Velcro.

First, buy a good quality of Velcro. I purchased heavy-duty velcro for the job. The cost is a couple of dollars, and it can be found at an office supply store.

Trim a piece of smooth Velcro to attach to the tongue of the shoe. This piece can be larger than the other piece that you will attach the to sensor. You want to be able to position the sensor as desired on the tongue, so more velcro on the tongue is good.

Trim a smaller piece of the "male" rough Velcro to attach to the sensor. It should be small enough not to overlap the on/off switch on the sensor.

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Attaching Velcro to the Nike+iPod Sensor

Nike+ Sensor with Velcro
Nike+ Sensor with Velcro. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

Simply trim a square of rough "male" velcro to fit on the underside of the Nike+iPod sensor.

The velcro should not overlap the on/off switch.

The adhesive on the back of the velcro should be enough to keep it secure, especially if you bought heavy-duty velcro meant for any surface.

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Attaching Velcro to the Tongue of the Shoe

Nike+iPod Sensor Attached with Velcro
Nike+iPod Sensor Attached with Velcro. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

Trim an oblong patch of smooth "female" velcro that will fit under the laces on the tongue of your shoe, closest to the toe area. This patch should be larger, so you can experiment with the best position for the sensor once everything is in place. You want the sensor to be as level and untilted as possible.

You will need to sew or otherwise attach the velcro to the tongue, as the adhesive on the back of the velcro probably won't be completely secure on the fabic of the tongue. You will need a needle and thread and just make 4 stitches at the corners of the patch of velcro to secure it.

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Attach the Nike+iPod Sensor to the Velcro Patch on your Shoe

Nike+iPod Sensor Attached with Velcro
Nike+iPod Sensor Attached with Velcro. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

Now simply press the sensor onto the velcro patch on the tongue of the shoe and relace the shoe, crossing the laces over the sensor for extra security.

Try to position the sensor so it is as untilted as possible - it should be level with the ground front to back and side to side. You will need to recalibrate the sensor for the best accuracy, as it is likely to be slightly tilted in one direction or another.

If you switch this same sensor between shoes, you should recalibrate it for each shoe after each switch. If that is your plan, it would be wise to measure off a quarter mile calibration area near where you usually walk or run and use that route for recalibration as needed.

Step by Step Screen Shots of Calibrating Your Sensor

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Calibrating Your Nike+iPod Sensor

iPod Nano Screen
iPod Nano Screen. Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

To calibrate your Nike+iPod Sensor, first measure off a distance you can walk or run. If an outdoors track is handy, once around the inside lane is 400 meters, which the top choice on the calibration screen.

If you don't have a track, measure off a known distance near where you usually start your walking or running workout. You can use a car odometer, a bike odometer, or a surveyor's wheel if you don't have any handy mileposts nearby.

  • Attach the sensor to your shoe, start your iPod nano, iPod touch or iPhone, select Nike+iPod, then Setting, then Calibrate.
  • Select a walk or run calibration.
  • Select the distance you have already measured and are ready to walk or run at your usual pace.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions and begin your walk or run. When you reach the end of the distance, tell the iPod you are at the end. Now your sensor is calibrated.

If you are attaching the sensor to a non-Nike Plus Ready shoe, I suggest calibrating it each time. This is because the angle the sensor is at is likely to be slightly different each time, and that will affect the accuracy unless it is recalibrated.

Step by Step Screen Shots of Calibrating Your Sensor

Now you are ready for your Nike+iPod Workout.
Step by Step for a Nike+iPod Workout

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