GPS shoes guide you home from the pub

Posted by Emma Woollacott

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has only to click her heels together three times to be magically taken home. And now, thanks to a British designer,  you could one day be able to do the same.

Dominic Wilcox's No Place Like Home GPS Shoes are a rather natty pair of brogues which include a GPS receiver and antenna. Once wearers have uploaded their home address to the shoes, they can simply click their heels to activate them.

Wilcox says he was inspired by the Wizard of Oz - rather than by one too many drinks in the pub - after receiving a commission from the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, the country's traditional center for shoemaking.

There's a magnet in the right shoe and sensor in the left, which detects when the magnet is near. Clicking the heels tells the microcontroller in the left shoe to start the GPS.

The shoes then guide the wearer home through LED lights embedded in the toes of the shoes: the left one shows a ring of lights that points the wearer in the right direction, while the right shoe has a progress bar showing how much further the wearer has to travel.

"I chose mini LED lights as they needed to be visible outdoor in sunlight. There were other alternatives like digital displays but given the distance from the eyes these LED's seemed the best option," says Wilcox.

"I drew an illustration that I etched onto the sole and chose a red calf leather for the inside as a small reference to Dorothy's red shoes in the Wizard of Oz."

There's no plan to release the shoes as a commercial product, unfortunately.