Every smartphone out there features at least some sort of rudimentary GPS software nowadays, but these shoes certainly represent a easy to use alternative.
The GPS shoes are the creation of British designer Dominic Wilcox, who drew his inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. Activating the GPS system had be story-like, too. In order to allow the stars, or rather the satellites, to guide the wearer, he must click the heels the same way Dorothy did in the famous story. I’ll assume that if these ever hit mass production, there will also be at least a version for women. I said a least one cause I happen to know that no matter how many pairs a woman has in her wardrobe, one more won’t hurt. Of course, these shoes also had to bear a special name, so the designer decided to call them “No Place Like Home.”
Besides Dominic Wilcox, technology and interactive arts expert Becky Stewart and Northamptonshire shoe maker Stamp Shoes were also involved in the making of this prototype. Apparently, this prototype was commissioned by the Global Footprint project that wants to emphasize the long and beautiful shoe making history of the Northamptonshire county.
The toe caps of each shoe features LED lights that indicate the direction and the remaining distance to the destination. The GPS sensors are located in each of the heels, so wireless communication between them is also involved. As mentioned before, one needs to click the heels in order to activate the GPS system. To make this happen, the designers of the No Place Like Home shoes employed a magnet in the right shoe and a sensor in the left one.
Now, your biggest concern is not to lose one of the shoes, as they only work together. Another disadvantage of these shoes is that only one destination can be set at a time. In order to change the destination, one needs a USB cable and a computer running a custom mapping software. The prototype is based on Arduino micro-controllers and runs on a battery that is similar to the ones powering cellphones. Hopefully, this battery is replaceable, as no one would like to have their GPS system run out of juice, no matter if we are talking about the No Place Like Home shoes or a full-fledged GPS device.