British designer Dominic Wilcox has created a pair of prototype shoes which offer to guide the wearer home with built-in GPS navigation. The inspiration for the clever footwear derives from The Wizard of Oz character Dorothy’s red shoes, which famously transported her home with a click of her heels. Naturally, the GPS system within Wilcox’s shoes is also activated by clicking the heels together.
The shoes, named No Place Like Home, were commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, which seeks to highlight the county's rich history of shoe making. In order to construct his design, Wilcox teamed up with interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart and Northamptonshire shoe maker Stamp Shoes.
A GPS unit contained within the heel of the left shoe communicates wirelessly with the right shoe and provides data to the integrated LED lights – which display both the correct direction home, and how much of the journey still remains.
A new home destination can be added via USB connection to a computer running purpose-made mapping software, while a magnet in the right shoe and a sensor in the left detect when the heels are clicked together. The internal hardware is controlled by dual Arduino micro-controllers, and power is provided by a cellphone-like battery pack.
The short film below explains the concept behind the No Place Like Home shoes in further detail.
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