Wizard of Oz inspired shoes fitted with GPS sensors

image captionThe shoes were made as part of the Northamptonshire Global Footprint festival

They were made in a town famous for its shoe-making history - but come with a 21st century twist.

Inspired by Dorothy's ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz film, British designer Dominic Wilcox has produced footwear designed to guide the wearer to their chosen destination.

Using Global Positioning Sensors (GPS) and tracking devices, the shoes can be programmed with a specific route.

The wearer is then guided by LED lights that flash to indicate the right direction.

An antenna on the heel tracks a satellite signal to plot the route.

'Wirelessly communicates'

The prototype shoes, named "No Place Like Home", were commissioned as part of part of the Northamptonshire Global Footprint festival, which celebrates the county's shoe and boot making industry.

Northampton-based traditional English shoemaker Nicholas Cooper, of Stamp Shoes, produced the footwear.

image captionThe shoes were inspired by the Wizard of Oz film

Sunderland-born Mr Wilcox enlisted the help of an IT expert to produce the technology, which is embedded within the heel.

He said: "I decided to make a pair of shoes that can navigate you to anywhere you wish to travel to.

"I thought about the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy could click her shoes together to go home.

"After uploading your required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click.

"It then communicates to the wearer via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction.

"The shoe with the GPS wirelessly communicates with the right shoe that has a progress bar of lights to show how close you are to the destination."

'Stretch the boundaries'

After appearing at exhibitions in Northampton and London, the shoes have gone on display in New York at an event showcasing the latest gadget technology.

Heather Smith, of Northamptonshire County Council, said: "The Global Footprint project has been a wonderful celebration of the county's long-standing boot and shoe industry.

"I'm very pleased that this small piece of Northamptonshire will be on display in the 'Big Apple'."

The shoes have been produced as an initial one-off prototype.

Mr Wilcox said: "My work is all about reimagining uses for objects, and the relationships that exist between things.

"I hope my GPS shoes will reconnect people to the craftsmanship inherent in shoe-making, but also stretch the boundaries of potential for the industry."