Grandma’s new kicks are not only stylish but they could also save her life. A new shoe embedded with a live GPS tracking chip is becoming a hit with Alzheimer patients and their families. Avoid the angst associated with a wandering family member by checking in on their real-time GPS location online, from your cell phone, or even on Facebook.
“This product could not only save lives but potentially save governments billion in search and rescue operations,” said Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason and an adviser for the project.
This GPS tracking unit is part of a significant line of assisted-living products offered for the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients, from sensor systems to pill boxes that remind patients of medication. The market for assisted-living products is growing fast and shows no sings of stagnation soon, as the market for microchip-based technology alone is estimated at $5 billion.
The shoe will be produced as a collaboration between GTX Corp., a firm specializing in miniature GPS tracking devices, and the footwear company Aertex. The shoe should retail for a price between $200-$300, and for a monthly fee of $20, a caregiver could subscribe to a service that alerts them if the wearer of the shoe leaves a designated boundary. A prototype will be finished with testing by the end of the year, and the shoe will be placed on the market by 2010.