Before smartphones how often had you been lost and wished you had a pair of ruby slippers like Dorothy Gale to tap three times and take you home? One man has just created a pair of similar treads, calling them “No Place Like Home GPS Shoes.”
Dominic Wilcox conceived the idea and design as part of the Global Footprint Project in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom, which he calls “a place famous for shoe making. He worked with Becky Stewart from the local maker Stamp Shoes to actually produce the old-fashioned-looking leather shoes with a technological twist.
Commissioned by the project, Wilcox says in a video documenting the shoes that he was given free reign over what shoe type to make.
“I started thinking of the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy and her shoes and when she clicked her heels together, she got transported home,” he said. “I used that as sort of inspiration. Thinking, well, is it possible to make a pair of shoes that could at least guide you home?”
Here’s how he describes the shoe 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. 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 heal, is activated by a heal 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.
Watch this video detailing the making and use of the shoes:
As Wilcox says, the shoes are engaged to start you headed home with a heel click — just like Dorothy. He writes that there is a magnet in the right shoe that is detected by a sensor in the left when the heels come together to turn on the GPS.
In addition to making the technology work seamlessly, the shoemakers had to fashion the footwear in such a way to accommodate the embedded gadgets as well. For example, inside a hollowed-out heel is where the battery and GPS go.
For more photos of the process to make the shoes, check out Wilcox’s website here.