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THE CUTTING EDGE / CYBERNEWS | HEARD ON THE BEAT

Techno-Toes

June 01, 1998|BARBARA MARSH

Genovation Inc. sees a future in measuring your feet.

This spring, the privately held Irvine company started selling electronic gizmos for sizing feet to podiatrists, chiropractors and shoe retailers across Southern California and elsewhere.

Three months ago at a shoe trade show in Germany, it launched its Foot-Fitter, a $250 electronic scale intended as a more accurate, computer-age replacement for the standard mechanical device widely used by shoe salesmen. Joseph Meshi, the company's executive vice president, said Genovation has received hundreds of orders since then and expects to start shipments within weeks.

Last week, at a podiatrists' conference in Anaheim, Genovation introduced another product--its Foot-Station, a $1,995 imaging system podiatrists can use to take measurements for custom insoles. It includes a pressure pad the customer steps on, which electronically senses a foot's dimensions, and software that can be used with Windows 95 to generate a three-dimensional image of the foot.

Meshi said the system is much faster than the traditional method of using plaster or foam to make a cast of the foot.

"You, the customer, will be able to order shoes from the Shopping Channel, the Internet or a virtual store and get a product that will fit your feet precisely," Meshi predicted.

The foot-sizing market is a new one for Genovation, which was founded nine years ago and employs 25 people. The company makes keypads for notebook computers. Several years ago, Meshi said, the company decided to diversify when it encountered tough competition in its basic business.

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