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article imageAre GPS shoes the footwear trend of the future?

By Leigh Goessl     Sep 21, 2012 in Technology
A London-based developer has created a pair of GPS-enabled shoes that will guide a walker to his or her next destination.
Currently, the artist has developed a prototype for the shoes that were inspired by Dorothy's red ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz".
The shoes are called "No Place Like Home”.
Dominic Wilcox has designed a new shoe that includes a GPS navigator. Working in conjunction with Northampton shoe maker, Stamp Shoes, and Becky Stewart, a technology expert, Wilcox has created what may perhaps be the next big trend in footwear.
"I was commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for shoe making, to create some shoes. I decided to make a pair of shoes that can navigate you to anywhere you wish to travel to. I thought about the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy could click her shoes together to go home," Wilcox said.
According to Digital Trends, the shoe "cleverly displays both direction as well as distance when a location has been uploaded with mapping software."
On the right shoe are five indicator lights, a "progress bar" that shows the walker when they are getting closer to their destination, with each nearing step, a red light will blink on (total 4) until the destination is reached, at which time the final LED light, a green one, will illuminate.
The left shoe features a series of lights that operate what resembles a compass, showing the individual which direction they should be walking.
You might be wondering how the shoes know where to go? Wilcox explains on his personal website:
Dominic Wilcox talks about his GPS-enabled shoes
Dominic Wilcox talks about his GPS-enabled shoes
Vimeo screen shot
"After uploading your required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click. It then communicates to the wearer via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction. The shoe with the GPS wirelessly communicates with the right shoe that has a progress bar of lights to show how close you are to the destination."
Batteries to run the GPS and also an antenna to detect satellites (in a flap on the back of the shoe) are stored in the shoes' heels.
Wilcox talks about how the shoes came to fruition and the details involved in this video. He also demonstrates how they work by taking them on a "test walk".
The artist's website outlines the making of the shoes in detail.
Would you wear shoes outfitted with a GPS? Think it'll catch on?
More about GPS shoes, Footwear, Shoes, Gps, Dominic Wilcox
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