If you think a mobile phone/shoe has no practical purpose other than to provide spies with a discreet mode of communication, you’re sadly mistaken. Dr. Gardner-Stephen, Flinders University post-doctoral fellow in bioinformatics, thinks this novel idea represents a possible means of relaying health-related information wirelessly from the shoe to concerned individuals and health institutions. Here’s a quote from the Flinders University blog where Dr. Gardner-Stephen shares his optimism for the technology:
“Relaying voice communications via a shoe is technologically similar to relaying medical data for remote patient monitoring, such as pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygenation and so forth,” Dr Gardner-Stephen said today.
“And a shoe is a good location for housing the electronics required for storing and communicating these measurements. Shoes are well accepted by most people, and are simple to put on and take off,” he said.
“Secondly, because our feet, and therefore our shoes, conduct large forces as we stand and walk, energy can be harvested to charge the device during ordinary activity. A shoe-based device would not only be easy to wear, it could run significantly longer between battery charges.
“There is also potential to develop the telephone function for use in home nursing and aged care facilities. The shoe based platform makes it possible to detect shocks and orientation changes resulting from, for example, a fall. On detecting this, the device could telephone a medical carer and initiate a speaker phone conversation and call for any assistance required.”
As you can see, the potential for the shoe phone is great albeit a bit on the quirky side. The technology, as evidenced in this video, is no doubt there already, but the demand needs to be there as well.
Given that a 5-megapixel shoe phone with a touchscreen display won't be debuting anytime soon, it probably won't score big amongst the younger generation. However, its practical application in the medical field will no doubt be a huge selling point if and when it does become commercially available. So, when the time comes, will you be getting yourself a shoe phone?