by James A. Martin

Totally Ridiculous and Unnecessary Apps Hall of Fame: Blacksocks App Sorts…Black Socks

Sep 24, 20123 mins
iPhone blogger James A. Martin kicks off a new series meant to spotlight ridiculous mobile apps with a look at Blacksocks, an app that helps you sort identical black socks using an iPhone app. Seriously.

White swans mate for life. Black socks, not so much. Throw several pairs in the washer and dryer, and you’ll often find that your socks ditched their mates and hooked up with new partners.

Actually, you probably won’t even notice the new couplings at all, much less care. One black sock pretty much looks like another, which is why I’m spotlighting Blacksocks, a free iPhone app and the inaugural app in my new Totally Ridiculous and Unnecessary Apps Hall of Fame.

Swiss company Blacksocks SA developed the app to help you precisely match the company’s RFID-embedded socks with their natural mates. The Swiss are famous for their precision in watches; who knew they’d translated their technical prowess into footwear? 

Here’s the Blacksocks concept: For $189, the company sends you 10 pairs of black calf-length socks. The hypoallergenic socks are made in Milan “by a second-generation family of sock artisans” from a blend of Peruvian Pima cotton, lycra and polyamide.

Each sock has an embedded RFID tag. Along with the socks, you get a wireless “Sock Sorter,” a handheld RFID reader that communicates with the Blacksocks app on your iPhone (3GS or newer). Upon receiving your smart socks, you pair them using the app and the Sock Sorter so the iPhone app knows which socks belong together.

After doing laundry you just hold the Sock Sorter over the RFID chip on a particular sock; scan the device over all the socks in your basket; and the iPhone makes a sound to indicate when the sock’s mate has been located.

Blacksocks iPhone app

In my opinion, if you spend $189 on this product, you’ll also want to buy a device that will locate your common sense. If you have several pairs of black socks, all from the same maker, how difficult—or important—is it to match them exactly? Do you really need to know a sock’s “history,” which the app and Sock Sorter provides? Can’t you tell when a black sock is looking a bit gray and washed out? Do you need an app to tell you?

Maybe the next step is for the communications chip in your Nike+ running shoes to communicate with the chip in your socks, though I doubt any good could come from that. If you’re not careful, your socks and shoes might blab on Facebook about how much your feet stink.

Have you spotted a candidate for the Totally Ridiculous and Unnecessary Apps Hall of Fame? If so, tell me about it in the comments section below.