Indian company Lechal has produced a shoe that combines Google maps and smartphone technology to solve a basic problem, getting lost when walking. When a necessary directional change is approaching the appropriate shoe, either right or left, will vibrate, letting the walker know it is time to turn.
A sense of direction will become an obsolete thing of the past.
The directions are set using a smartphone and the footwear is compatible with iPhones, Androids and Windows. Customers have two options: either the full smart shoe or simply smart insoles.
The vibrating smart shoe is perfect for people with a smart phone, but don’t want to take a break from Candy Crush to check where they’re walking, but don’t think these kicks are a one trick pony.
Users can also set up a work out mode that tracks how many steps they took and how many calories they’ve burned. The smart shoes also have a variety of reminder functions.
The shoes tell you when you’re close to landmarks or other points of interest and, perhaps most importantly, they start vibrating if your smartphone is not close by.
As the creator, Krispian Lawrence, explains, “You will leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes.”
Lechal, which means “take me there,” has seen a great deal of success, already receiving 25,000 pre-orders.
There is one catch: the price. The vibrating smart footwear sells for between $100 and $150. That price may seem like a lot, but part of the money does go to a good cause.
The original intention of the smart shoe was to help the one group who really needs this device, the visually impaired. Part of the profits from the shoe sales will go to subsidize the cost for impoverished blind customers.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are approximately 285 million visually-impaired people on Earth. Strangely, the majority of those people are in India. The shoes fill a huge need for the blind, especially in rural areas where conveniences like talking cross walks are non-existent.
The further aid the blind, a charger reports the shoe’s battery status with a finger snap.
It was only after designing the vibrating smart shoes for the blind that Lechal realized the potential uses for sighted people.
Whether you’re a biker, jogger, or just love tech gadgets, the vibrating smart shoe may be a fun accessory to have, as well as an interesting conversation piece.
[Image Credit: AP Photo/Paramont Pictures/Melinda Sue Gordon]