CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Wearable Tech

Dorothy shoes: Click your heels, summon an Uber ride?

Tuck a tiny gadget into your footwear and turn any pair of shoes into ruby slippers that can text, call or even summon a ride to your location.

Dorothy on a shoe
Dorothy clips onto a shoe or boot. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

It sure would be nice to have a pair of ruby slippers you could click together to make something magical happen. We can't all get carried off in a tornado to the Land of Oz, but we may soon be able to look to technology to provide some supernatural shoes. Dorothy is a connected device that turns any footwear into wearable technology.

Dorothy works under the "if this, then that" principle. The "Ruby" part of the system is a small device that slips onto your shoe. You can clip it on or tuck it inside a boot. Tap your heels three times and it triggers a mobile app to do one of several things. Currently, Dorothy can call your phone from a fake contact (so you can get out of bad date) or send a predetermined text message to your contacts.

Dorothy is the creation of iStrategyLabs, a digital agency that previously brought us the PiePal, an automatic pizza-ordering button, and the Selfie mirror, a two-way mirror with a camera and a computer running facial-recognition software.

Under Ruby's hood is an Arduino microcontroller stocked with Bluetooth, an accelerometer and a battery. It works with the Dorothy iPhone app. The housing is 3D-printed. The current prototype is small, but iStrategyLabs is working to reduce the size significantly and possibly even build it directly into an insole.

One of the cooler features iStrategyLabs is working on for Dorothy is having it summon an Uber ride on demand. This would go well with repeating, "There's no place like home" under your breath and then catching an Uber back to your house.

Dorothy definitely falls more on the whimsical side of wearable technology, but there's a certain appeal to not having to mess with complex gadgets with screens and touch interfaces. All you have to do is click your heels together three times and let Dorothy do what it's programmed to do.