The Japanese Wish Hills company has created shoes with an embedded GPS, designed for people with senile dementia, so that they can be easily located if they get lost.
One of the problems facing families and caregivers of people with some form of senile dementia is that they can get lost. A Japanese company has decided to find a solution to meet this challenge, and has done so by means of a GPS tracker. For some time now, technology has been able to obtain the location of a person easily when he or she wears a GPS sensor. The question is where to put it… the one which can be found on any current-day smartphone could be used, but it isn’t the best solution.
Why not, you may ask? Because not all those suffering from dementia have a smartphone and besides, they may not have it on them when they get lost. The Japanese Wish Hills company looked into what would be the best device for attaching a tracking sensor to for one of these patients, and the smartphone was ruled out.
However, the GPS couldn’t be placed in accessories such as a bracelet, a necklace or a watch, as these are adornments which are not always going to be worn. Clothing wasn’t an option either, unless the tracker were to be moved to and fro between the patient’s pyjamas and daytime clothes.
The company decided that shoes with an embedded GPS was the best option. A person always has to wear shoes and he or she can be encouraged to wear a certain pair of shoes. The “GPS Dokodemo Shoes” are the creation reflecting the above concerns. They are normal, stylishly cut shoes, but the left shoe contains a GPS device.
The tracker is linked to a device which can be located in the home of the person with dementia. When he or she moves 50, 100 or 500 metres away – the distance can be configured – the GPS sends a notification to the central device. This notification can also be received on a smartphone, so that relatives and caregivers will know where the patient is.
The system also allows the position of the GPS signal to be seen on a map, thereby providing all the features within the scope of technology in the event of a patient getting lost. The GPS shoes cost $285 and for the time being are only sold in Japan, although the company is planning to export them.