California company GTX is now shipping shoes with built-in GPS, designed to monitor the whereabouts of Alzheimer's patients.
The shoes will shortly go on sale through Aetrex Worldwide. They have a GPS receiver embedded in the sole, and can be tracked through a deal with Omnilink Systems, allowing wandering Alzheimer's patients to be traced.
When patients leave a pre-specified 'safe zone', an alert is triggered via a smartphone app which shows their precise location.
"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."
Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimers and, says GTX, 60 percent of these people will wander and become lost. Many of these can die or suffer serious injury if they're not found quickly.
The shoes are more effective than other tracking devices, says GTX, as the wearers are much less likely to remove them than, say, a pendant which seems unfamiliar.
The shoes will be available for $300, with the monitoring service costing $35 per month.