Artist Creates GPS Shoes That Point The Way Home: Gallery
Wizard of Oz inspired Dominic Wilcox to construct bespoke GPS-enabled footwear
Artist Dominic Wilcox has created a pair of unique “No Place Like Home” GPS shoes than can guide the wearer home, no matter where they are.
The unusual footwear was inspired by the Wizard of Oz, and the magical shoes Dorothy used to transport herself home.
The Wizard of Northamptonshire
The shoes were commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for its shoe making tradition.
How do they work? First, the wearer needs to upload the required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable. The USB connection also charges the battery in each shoe, similar to those found in mobile phones.
The GPS receiver switches on when the wearer clicks their heels together, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The shoes then wirelessly connect to each other, and display the route to the destination via 14 LED lights. The string of lights on the right shoe indicates distance to the destination, the circle of lights on the left – direction.
“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 LEDs seemed the best option,” wrote Wilcox in his Variations on Normal blog.
The progress bar starts with one red light at the beginning of the journey and ends on the green light when you arrive. The insides of the shoes were made with red leather, as another reference to Dorothy and her ruby pumps. The soles were etched with an illustrated map.
In order to create this fully functioning prototype, Wilcox enlisted the help of interactive arts and technology expert Becky Stewart and local Northamptonshoe maker Nicholas Cooper from Stamp Shoes.
The intelligent footwear is currently on display at Wilcox’s solo exhibition at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, London, until the 26th September.
You can find more information about these magnificent shoes in the video below.
One feature missing from the shoes is the inclusion of piezo-electric charging, which has been built into shoes before. See our interview with Trevor Baylis – the inventor of the clockwork radio who also designed electric shoes to charge mobile devices.
Do you know the secrets of Wi-Fi? Take our quiz!