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[aprssig] gps sneakers ?

Kevin Deckert kdeckert at telus.net
Sun Feb 11 13:34:28 UTC 2007


Do these units transmit to a satellite or to a cell phone tower???

 Engineer: GPS shoes make people findable By KELLI KENNEDY, 
Associated Press Writer
Fri Feb 9, 12:45 PM ET


Isaac Daniel calls the tiny Global Positioning System chip he's 
embedded into a line of sneakers "peace of mind." He wishes his 8-
year-old son had been wearing them when he got a call from his 
school in 2002 saying the boy was missing. The worried father hopped 
a flight to Atlanta from New York where he had been on business to 
find the incident had been a miscommunication and his son was safe.

Days later, the engineer started working on a prototype of Quantum 
Satellite Technology, a line of $325 to $350 adult sneakers that hit 
shelves next month. It promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the 
world with the press of a button. A children's line will be out this 
summer.

"We call it a second eye watching over you," Daniel said.

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, watches and bracelets.

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.

But the shoe is not meant for non-emergencies - like to find out if 
a teen is really at the library or a spouse is really on a business 
trip. If authorities are called and it is not an emergency, the 
wearer will incur all law enforcement costs, Daniel said.

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."

Daniel, who wears the shoes when he runs every morning, says he 
tested the shoes on a recent trip to New Jersey. It tracked him down 
the Atlantic Coast to the Miami airport and through the city to a 
specific building.

The company also has put the technology into military boots and is 
in talks with Colombia and Ecuador, he said.

But retail experts say the shoe might be a tough sale to brand-
conscious kids.

"If (parents) can get their kids to wear them, then certainly there 
is a marketplace. But I think the biggest challenge is 
overcoming ... the cool marketplace," said Lee Diercks, managing 
director of New Jersey-based Clear Thinking Group, an advisory firm 
for retailers.

The GPS sneakers, available in six designs, resemble most other 
running shoes. The two silver buttons - one to activate and one to 
cancel - are inconspicuous near the shoelaces.

The company is selling 1,000 limited-edition shoes online and 
already has orders for 750, Daniel said.

Parents who buy the pricey kicks don't have to worry about their 
kids outgrowing them fast. This fall, the company is unveiling a 
plug-and-wear version that allows wearers to remove the electronics 
module from their old shoes and plug it into another pair of 
Daniel's sneaks. 


Kevin Deckert, VE7WHK
Emergency Coordinator 
Wells Gray Country ARES
ve7whk at rac.ca
www.wellsgraycountry.ca
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