Smart shoes might just keep you from ever getting lost again


Wearable tech's come a long way since the early days of Bluetooth earpieces, and today's smartwatches already compare pretty favorably to our phones themselves in terms of feature sets. Where does the future go from here? Smart glasses with heads-up displays? Sure, but the next wave of wearables doesn't necessarily have to be quite so high-tech. There's still a lot of mileage to extract out of seemingly simple wearable electronics, and that's just the sort of thing we're seeing with the prototype EasyJet Sneakairs, a pair of – you guessed it – smart shoes.

We've looked at smart shoes before, like with the Xiaomi design we checked out last summer, but those were little more than fitness trackers you wore on your feet. The EasyJet Sneakairs, in contrast, are primarily navigation devices.

The shoes connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth, and each contain a small notification motor that buzzes to get your attention. When paired with a navigation app, those vibrations can help steer you in the right direction: when you need to turn left, for example, you feel a quick buzz in the heel of your left shoe. More complicated vibration patterns can warn you when you're veering off course, or when you've ultimately reached your destination.

And yes, before you ask: this is EasyJet the airline that's making this wearable. While that may make it seem like a marketing stunt, the company could actually be on to something here, and beyond helping weary travelers quickly navigate around an unfamiliar airport, there's a lot of potential for this type of navigation aid in all variety of circumstances.

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Right now EasyJet's working on boosting battery life beyond the three hours it currently tops out at, as well looking into making a universal vibration-alert insole that could be worn with existing pairs of shoes.

source: Wired via Boing Boing

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