Isaac Daniel calls the tiny Global Positioning System chip he’s embedded into a line of sneakers “peace of mind.”
The engineer started working on a prototype of Quantum Satellite Technology, a line of $325 to $350 sneakers that should hit shelves in March, after his son was reported missing from school. It turned out it was a misunderstanding, and his son was fine. But, an idea was born.
The shoe maker promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the world with the press of a button. A children’s line will be out this summer.
It’s the latest implementation of satellite-based navigation into everyday life — technology that can be found in everything from cell phones that help keep kids away from sexual predators to fitness watches that track heart rate and distance. Shoes aren’t as easy to lose, unlike phones and watches.
The sneakers work when the wearer presses a button on the shoe to activate the GPS. A wireless alert detailing the location is sent to a 24-hour monitoring service that costs an additional $19.95 a month.
In some emergencies — such as lost child or Alzheimer’s patient — a parent, spouse or guardian can call the monitoring service, and operators can activate the GPS remotely and alert authorities if the caller can provide the correct password.
Once the button is pressed, the shoe will transmit information until the battery runs out.
While other GPS gadgets often yield spotty results, Daniel says his company has spent millions of dollars and nearly two years of research to guarantee accuracy. The shoe’s 2-inch-by-3-inch chip is tucked into the bottom of the shoe.
Experts say GPS accuracy often depends on how many satellites the system can tap into. Daniel’s shoe and most GPS devices on the market rely on four.
“The technology is improving regularly. It’s to the point where you can get fairly good reflection even in areas with a lot of tree coverage and skyscrapers,” said Jessica Myers, a spokeswoman for Garmin International Inc., a leader in GPS technology based in Kansas. “You still need a pretty clear view of the sky to work effectively.”
The company also has put the technology into military boots and is in talks with Colombia and Ecuador, he said.
More information at: www.isaacdaniel.com