At the recent London Design Festival KK Outlet, British designer Dominic Wilcox has unveiled the modern-day equivalent of Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs; the "No Place Like Home" shoes use global positioning system (GPS) technology to track the wearers' whereabouts. The nonprofit organization Global Footprint commissioned the shoes, which Wilcox made in collaboration with Codasign tech expert Becky Stewart and Northampton shoe makers Stamp Shoes.
How do the "No Place Like Home" shoes work? A GPS device is embedded in the heel of the shoe (with an antenna cleverly disguised in the decorative red ankle tag) which communicates wirelessly with custom location-tracking software. Users can mark the location of "home" by uploading the information to the shoe via a USB cable that plugs into the insole. A circle of Light-emitting diodes (LED lights) in the toe of the shoe then communicate to the wearer their proximity to or deviation away from the location of home. Explained Wilcox; "The progress bar starts with one red light at the beginning of the journey and ends on the green light when you arrive. The correct direction to walk is shown by the illumination of one of the LED's on the circle."
On his website Wilcox said; "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. 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."
In an age when we're always on the go, we can't imagine a nicer reminder of home. Below, some close-ups of these technologically savvy shoes and their development.
Source and photos courtesy Dominic Wilcox's website.