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GPS ‘Dorothy’ Shoes Use LED Lights To Guide Wearer Home

LED ShoesWhen Dorothy wanted to return home in L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, all she had to do was click her heels 3 times, and wished to go home. Instantly, she was back in Kansas.

Whilst this remains the stuff of fairytales, British designer Dominic Wilcox has brought us as close as we’ll probably get to Dorothy’s magical silver shoes.

Branded the “No Place Like Home GPS Shoes”, the Wizard of Oz inspired footwear is designed to guide you home no matter where you are in the world – all you need to do is click your heels together whilst wearing them.

Embedded in the left heel is a GPS receiver, which is powered by a small battery. A USB slot inside the shoe allows you to connect it to a computer, where a custom piece of software is used to upload the chosen destination.

The left shoe communicates with the right show through a wireless antenna – disguised as a red tag at the top of the heel.

LEDs at the front of the left shoe point you in the direction that you need to go, while the LED lights at the front of the right shoe tell you how much further you have to travel. Sensors in each shoe trigger when the heels are clicked together – starting the guidance system.

The shoes were commissioned by Global Footprint, a Northampton based visual arts and living heritage programme, celebrating the county’s historic boot and shoe industry.

“I was commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for shoe making, to create some shoes. I decided to make a pair of shoes that can navigate you to anywhere you wish to travel to.

I thought about 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.

It then communicates to the wearer via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction. The shoe with the GPS wirelessly communicates with the right shoe that has a progress bar of lights to show you how close you are to the destination.

In developing these shoes I tried different methods of communicating the direction of travel to the wearer, including vibration, though they just tickled my feet uncomfortably.

The simplest and most effective method was to add a circle of mini LED lights that the wearer can just glance down at.”

Not only were the shoes on show in Northampton, but they were also showcased at the KK Outlet as part of the London Design Festival in 2012. Such was the popularity of them, that they even went on display in New York at an event for the latest gadget technology.

Check out the video below to find out a little bit more about these amazing LED GPS shoes!

As innovative as these shoes are, unfortunately they are still concepts, and only a single pair exists so they’re not for sale, which we think is a real shame.

What do you think of the No Place Like Home GPS Shoes? Let us know in the comments below! Better yet, why not write on our Facebook page, or tweet us @WLEDLightsUK using the hashtag #WLEDAware!

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