The shoe with in-built GPS that tracks Alzheimer's patients – and gives their relatives peace of mind
Shoe is fitted with a miniature GPS system that allows the wearer’s location to be accurately pinpointedIf they stray outside a set area, relatives can be alerted by text or email
Designed to give wearers more freedom to go about everyday life
16:35 GMT, 16 October 2012
Shoes with an in-built tracking device to locate Alzheimer’s patients have gone on sale in the UK.
Designed to give worried relatives and friends piece of mind, the shoes enable the person
with Alzheimer’s to be monitored remotely, giving them more freedom.
One of the most common concerns for families of an Alzheimer’s sufferer is that the person often becomes lost after getting confused and disoriented.
The £250 shoes are fitted with a miniature GPS system – similar to those used in sat-nav systems found in cars – that allows its wearer’s location to be accurately pinpointed.
The £250 shoes are fitted with a miniature GPS system – similar to those used in sat-nav systems found in cars – that allows its wearer's location to be accurately pinpointed
Relatives are even able to set up a
designated 'safe' area so if the person strays beyond those boundaries,
it would trigger an alert in the form of an email or text message.
Family members use an app downloaded to a smart phone or computer to find out the location of the missing person.
The GPS system is implanted in the heel of what appears to be a normal walking shoe. The device, which cannot be seen or felt, contains a battery, SIM card (this is what tracks the wearer) and an integrated chip to help the device function.
The antenna and a USB connection to charge the shoes runs up the back heel of the shoe. The shoes need charging roughly every two days, a process that takes roughly two hours.
If the wearer strays beyond set boundaries, close friends or family are alerted by text or email. Their location can be identified using an app
downloaded to a smart phone or computer
The American company marketing the new footwear range, known as Aetrex
Navistar GPS Shoes, says they are the first to go on sale in the UK
The tracking device is a joint development between Los Angeles-based GTX Corp, who make miniature tracking devices, and Aetrex shoes.
Patrick Bertagna, chief executive of GTX Corp, said the mini GPS system was initially made for training shoes for long distance runners. But he said production was changed after tests showed the benefit to sufferers of the disease.
The Alzheimer¿s Society estimates 800,000 people in the UK and Ireland with Alzheimer¿s and dementia and are prone to wandering
The Alzheimer’s Society estimates 800,000 people in the UK and Ireland with Alzheimer’s and dementia and are prone to wandering.
Statistics show that if not found within the first 24 hours, over 50 per cent may be found seriously harmed.
While Alzheimer’s sufferers struggle to remember friends and family members, it’s
thought that ‘procedural memory’ – remembering to get dressed, for example – is the last type of memory they retain.
Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services in Washington DC, said the shoes will save lives and avoid embarrassing and costly incidents with the elderly.
'It’s especially important for people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s who are at the highest risk,' said Professor Carle, who has advised on the project.
'They might be living in their home but they’re confused. They go for a walk and they can get lost for days.'
He said there were similar GPS tracking devices available, but these were often rejected by dementia sufferers. 'The primary reason is that paranoia is a manifestation of the disease.
'If you put something on someone with Alzheimer’s that they don’t recognize, they remove it. If it’s a wristwatch and it’s not their wristwatch, they will take it off. So you have to hide it.'
The footwear is distributed by Tipp Toes http://www.tipptoes.com/gps-footwear-system/