The GPS Smart Shoe embeds a GPS receiver and SIM card to send the shoe’s position to a private tracking website – helping to find people if they wander off.
With an estimated 5 million sufferers in the U.S., manufacturer Aetrex said they wanted to use technology to enable extra support.
The shoes are available for both men and women, with either straps or shoelaces, and sell for around $300 a pair, with a monthly service plan of $30.
The transmitter is embedded in the base of the right heel and tracks the user’s location in real time, sending that data at specified intervals to a central monitoring station.
When the wearer wanders off wearing the GPS Shoe, their caregiver will immediately receive a geo-fence alert on their smartphone and computer, with a direct link to a Google map plotting the wanderer’s location.
The company is also talking to various Alzheimer associations to explore various partnerships.
If there is a downside to the technology, it is that the battery life of the GPS receiver lasts only two days – so it could run flat if no-one remembers to charge it.
The website AllThingsDigital asked Evan Schwartz, the company founder, if there was any risk to the product in terms of surveillance concerns.
He said: “It’s all kinds of good and bad and ugly popping up when it comes to GPS tech these days, and that’s definitely a concern.”
“There are enough people who make jokes about tracking a spouse, or what if you threw the shoe in the trunk of someone’s car and they never know it’s being used for that, that sort of thing.”
“But at the same time, this shoe has been designed to serve a purpose, and it’s to help caregivers, so we have a hard time believing someone would abuse this.”