GPS shoes give directions on top of your toes

Get your Dorothy on with the No Place Like Home GPS shoes. Click your heels together and they'll lead you to your destination.

No Place Like Home shoes
This shoe is part of a pair with LEDs embedded in the tops. Dominic Wilcox

GPS shoes already exist, but they've been more about tracking the wearer than giving directions. A project by U.K. artist Dominic Wilcox solves that oversight by putting directions right at the tips of your toes.

The prototype leather shoes were made by hand in old-world style by Stamp Shoes, but with some decidedly new-world technology tucked inside courtesy of interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart.

There's a GPS in the hollow left heel and the shoes communicate wirelessly. Two Arduino microcontrollers handle the work and the antenna is built into a tab at the back of the heel. In a delightful move, the GPS is activated by clicking the heels together, just like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz."

The right shoe features a line of LED lights. They start off red and work up to green when you reach your destination. A wheel of LEDs on the left shoe show you which direction to walk.

The shoes are programmed through a USB connection to a computer with a custom mapping software program. Select your destination, load it into the shoe, lace up, and follow along with the directions on your toes. You'll have to provide your own adorable shaggy little dog.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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