The "No Place Like Home" nagivation shoes. High-tech high-fashion at its best. GPS will lead you back, on foot... (via Dominic Wilcox)
Sometimes getting back home requires a little bit of guidance. Some people may choose their phones to be that main source of guidance. For Dominic Wilcox integrating a GPS module into a shoe was his envision of guidance home. Dominic managed to create a fully functional GPS shoe with LED lights to point you to your next destination.
The shoe is known as the “No Place Like Home” shoe and is made from leather with a red calf leather inside. If you have not guessed yet, the shoe was inspired largely from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy whom had a red pair of shoes, was able to click her heels together and she would go home. Dominic mentions that, “I thought about the the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy could click her shoes together to go home. After uploading your required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click.”
With the help of Becky Stewart, an interactive arts and technology expert, and Northampton's Stamp Shoes, the vision of the GPS guided shoe was able to become a reality. The shoes are designed with mini-LED lights arranged on the toes of the shoes. On the right foot sits a progress bar which consists of four red LEDs and one green LED. On the left foot you will find a circle of 8 LEDs with an additional one sitting in the center of the circle. “The progress bar starts with one red light at the beginning of the journey and ends on the green light when you arrive. The correct direction to walk is shown by the illumination of one of the LED's on the circle.” commented Dominic.
To navigate using the shoes, the user must first use a custom-made piece of software to plot out their destination. The preferred destination is then plotted on a map and needs to be uploaded to the shoe via a USB cable. To accomplish all the processing a couple of Arduino MCUs were used to communicate with the GPS, LEDs, and heel sensors. The heel sensor, which acts as a switch to turn on the system is activated by clicking the heels together. A magnet and magnetic sensor, which detects when the heels come together was used to accomplish this task. In addition, to allow the GPS to communicate with the outside world, an antenna is embedded in the back of the right shoe, hidden in a red pouch.
To put the final touches on the shoe, Dominic created an illustration, which sits on the sole of the shoe. The illustration is a sketch of a city with a path on it leading to a house. On the bottom heel of the shoe there is also a signature from Dominic and the name of the shoes, “No Place Like Home.” The shoe is a very creative design. The shoes have a classy look while the tech inside will keep you from getting lost. They are perfect for a night out in the city. No matter where the road may take you, you will always have a way back home.
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