GPS Shoes Navigate You Home

By Jennifer Abbey

Sep 19, 2012 3:42pm
ht dominic wilcox gps shoes thg 120919 wblog GPS Shoes Navigate You Home

                                                                                    (DominicWilcox.com)

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy had to click her heels three times to get home to Kansas.  Now an English  shoemaker is making those three clicks a reality.

Dominic Wilcox, from London, has invented a pair of shoes that can help you navigate anywhere you want to go. All it takes are three simple clicks.

The shoes are called “No Place Like Home” after Dorothy’s famous line from the movie.  The heel of the left shoe is hollowed out to hold a GPS unit. A small antenna, covered in red fabric on the back of the shoe reads signals from GPS satellites. To start the GPS, you just click your heels three times. A magnet in the right shoe and a sensor in the left detect when you’ve done it.  The GPS is powered by a small battery similar to that in a cellphone.

There is a computer program that allows you to plot your destination on a map, which you upload to the shoes via USB cable. The left shoe has a circle of LED lights on the toe that light up to show you the direction you need to go.  The right shoe has a line of LEDs that act as a progress bar, telling you how close you are to your destination. The shoes communicate via wireless.

The shoes have red calf leather inside, homage to Dorothy’s red shoes, Wilcox said.

Wilcox was commissioned by the  Global Footprint project to design a pair of shoes. He was allowed to make any shoe he wanted.

“I thought about the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and Dorothy and how she clicks her heels three times to get home,” Wilcox told ABC News. “I thought, ‘Is it possible to make that real in some way using the technology that we have?’”

Wilcox said he doesn’t have any plans for the shoes yet, calling them a “work in progress.” He originally made one pair just for the exhibition at the London Design Festival, but because of all the attention they’ve been getting, he may try to make more, he said. Either way, Wilcox is taking extra care to protect his creation and trying not to use the shoes, although he said they do work.

Wilcox is now a designer based out of London and he creates a variety of objects, sketches and installations. Recently, he designed several watches that had small sculptures balancing on their hands.

The idea for his GPS shoes was simple.

“I just think of ideas and make them,” he said.

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