Smart phones, no doubt, are a powerful navigational tool that have dramatically shifted the way we navigate our environment. But if you’ve ever had to negotiate looking at a screen while simultaneously riding a bike, you know they aren’t the most user-friendly device while cycling.
Innovalley, a young Silicon Valley-based innovation company, has created a pair of GPShoes to solve your cycling and navigation woes. GPShoes are a pair of wireless kicks with vibrating motors in each shoe that connects to your smart phone.
The name is slightly misleading as I imagine there isn’t any GPS technology embedded in the shoes themselves. Instead, the smart sneakers wirelessly connect to an app on your mobile phone. The shoes physically communicate with the user via vibration.
The first use case the company proposed is a pair of sneakers for cyclists to navigate through a city. The second proposed use case is for tourism.
Check out the video below for a user scenario.
I am thrilled to learn of an innovations company specifically focused on bringing wearable technology to market. My main critique of the product is that it is entirely technology driven. With a bit of design research and understanding of cycling culture and user behavior, the innovations can go beyond the more obvious GPS navigation. There is a lot of unexplored opportunity here.
They are seeking partnerships with shoe companies and research centers (hopefully that means design and usability research as well) to develop future iterations.
I’m personally looking forward to seeing future developments.