The launch of the first two satellites of the European Union’s Galileo navigation system is expected to herald and explosion in new applications using the Global Positioning System (GPS).
But, scarcely has the roar of the Soyuz rocket launch from French Guiana died down, and there is news of the first GPS-enabled shoes using the rival US system.
GPS-enabled shoes may sound like an odd and even frivolous application of the technology, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The high-tech shoes, to cost around £190, have been developed to track Alzheimer’s patients and help locate them if they wander off, according to AFP reports.
Other GPS-enabled items such as bracelets are often rejected or removed by Alzheimer patients. Developers of the shoes hope to overcome this problem.
The GPS-enabled shoes look like normal walking shoes, but will allow family members or carers to monitor the wearer and to receive alerts if the Alzheimer’s patient leaves a defined area.
Research has shown 60% of sufferers will wander and become lost, putting around half at risk of death from dehydration, exposure or injury if not found within 24 hours.