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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Where’s Wally?: Global Positioning System Shoes

Miami company, Fele Footwear has used GPS technology to develop shoes that can be located anywhere in the world and the shoe design allows wearers to press a hidden button in the fabric of the shoe to send a distress signal. Once activated the monitoring company passes the information onto the local police. The same standard function is available through cell phones, where GPS tracking capability has been used. Software packages allow tracking and this function is increasingly popular with parents who want to keep track of their children. It is possible to forget your cell phone but going without shoes is less likely. Quantum Satellite Technology shoes TM were developed by
Sayo Isaac Daniel
. The developer is keen to develop software games that can be used in tandem so junior is less stressed about being tracked. The sneakers also come in nineteen different colours and a variety of styles for runners and walkers. The shoe has application in other areas and Fele Footwear intend to include GPS technology in ranges of shoes and boots for hikers, the military, law enforcement and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The Compass Global 1000 GPS sneakers are expensive and cost $325 (US) plus $19.99/month in fees for the tracking service. The hope is as the technology becomes more common, the price will drop. Meantime Fele Footwear has 1000 shoes for sale which will be snapped up by keen sneaker freaker collectors. Similar technology has been used at the Research Institute of Innovative Products and Technologies, Hong Kong University, to develop high-tech electronic bat ears, glasses which are linked to shoes with a built in computer. Combined these use ultrasound echo location to locate nearby objects and a vibrating alert signal is sent to the shoes. The intensity of vibration increases as the obstacle gets closer. The shoes can detect steps, holes in the road and obstacles within a five cm vertical distance.

Interesting Sites:
Garmin
MotionLingo
Suunto Global
Timex

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