If you think of the idea of a GPS shoe, its most obvious application would be to keep track of children. California-based GTX is taking another, perhaps more lucrative, approach. The company has designed Geo-tracking footwear for Alzheimer’s patients, reports TG Daily. Its first pair of shoes will soon be available through Aetrex Worldwide, a shoe company that specializes in pedorthic footwear (shoes that don’t hurt your feet).
Here’s how it works: the shoes have a GPS receiver embedded in one of the soles which can be tracked. Once a patient leaves a pre-determined safe zone, an alert is triggered, which will notify caretakers of the patient’s wanderings via a smartphone app. From the app, users can completely track the location of the shoe wearer using Google Maps. From the images, it appears that the shoe has a Micro USB charging port. We don’t know what kind of charge the shoe holds, but we’d hope it would last longer than a day or two.
“The GPS Shoe has the potential to be life saving as well as life changing technology for those afflicted and their caregivers,” says Andrew Carle, an advisor to GTX Corp and director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University. ”The shoes also hold the potential to save governments hundreds of millions of dollars in search and rescue operations, as well in health care costs for those otherwise injured.”
According to GTX, more than 5 million Americans (1 in eight persons 65 and older) suffer from Alzheimer’s and 60 percent of these people wander out of sight and become lost. Without help, these people can die or suffer serious injury. Compared to other forms of tracking, like a bracelet or necklace, users are somewhat unlikely to take off their shoes.
If you want a pair of GPS tracking shoes for someone you love, or simply want to freak out a friend of yours by always knowing where they are, you can buy the GTX shoes for $300. Monitoring your loved one will cost $35 per month. Learn more about the shoes here.