September 21, 2012
Follow Your Toes: GPS Equipped Shoes Show Route Home
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Some ideas just aren't worth pursuing, then there are those that are obvious moneymakers, and finally there are some that are just too cool not to try out.
Inspired by Dorothy's shoes in the Wizard of Oz, U.K. artist Dominic Wilcox decided that maybe he should look to his pair of Oxfords for a guide back to his place.
Wilcox developed a pair of prototype GPS leather shoes that help the wearer get back from point B to point A through a little ingenuity.
The shoes feature a GPS in the hollow left heal and communicate wirelessly through an antenna built into a tab at the back of the heel.
To activate the GPS, all the wearer has to do is click their heels together, just like Dorothy did to get home in "The Wizard of Oz."
"I was commissioned by the Global Footprint Project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for shoe making, to create some shoes," Wilcox said on his website. "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," he added.
The right shoe, which was made by hand by Stamp Shoes, features a line of LED lights that start off red and work up to green when you reach your destination.
A wheel of LEDs made up the front left toe part of the design, lighting up in the direction you should be turning.
"I chose mini LED lights as they needed to be visible outdoor in sunlight. There were other alternatives like digital displays but given the distance from the eyes these LED's seemed the best option," Wilcox said.
A magnet is in the right shoe and a sensor in the left shoe detects when the magnet is near, telling the micro controller in the left shoe that the heels have been clicked, activating the GPS.
The shoes can be programmed through a USB connection to a computer with a custom mapping software program. All you have to do is select a destination, load it into the shoe, and follow your toes.