Shoes That Tell You Where To Go

Navigating urban spaces – particularly when those are unknown or unfamiliar – has become a matter of walking around with your face glued to your phone’s screen. There are many circumstances when walking in such a way is unsafe – because you miss cues from your surroundings (e.g., an approaching car), or because it marks you as a stranger. Several years ago, Ducere Technologies developed a footwear prototype that used haptic feedback to guide the wearer. The technology was initially designed to assist visually impaired people with getting around, and while that remains a driving motivation, the technology has wider applications in the general market, such as:

  • Guiding a visitor to a city around its streets with turn-by-turn directions, based on where the wearer wants to go.
  • Notifying the wearer of a nearby landmark or interesting place (which you then check on your phone).
  • Sending a notification to a friend or colleague to meet you at a particular place – and letting the footwear guide you there.

It has been a while since I checked up on progress, but the insoles edition from Ducere – called Lechal – are now available to order from Amazon. There is also the option of buying a buckle and pod pack for connecting to the outside of other footwear.

For more on the backstory and technology, see Lechal.

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