Unlike fitness trackers and other wearables, it is pretty hard to forget your shoes when you go out. Which makes shoes a good place to put a GPS tracker if you want to monitor the whereabouts of your loved ones, so let’s step into the 361 smart shoe for kids, powered by MediaTek technology.
To create the shoe, Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek has provided the kit to 361, a major Chinese shoe manufacturer. The smart shoe will go on sale in China in the next month; a MediaTek spokesman said the price would be around 500 yuan. It will not be on sale in the rest of the world, but to give you an idea that’s roughly £50, $80 or AU$100.
Inside the shoe is a MediaTek Aster processor with 4MB of RAM and a GPS chip, recording the shoe’s whereabouts and beaming the information to an app on your phone. Your can then see on your phone where your child is. Possible features that could be added to the app include boundaries, which send an alarm when the wearer moves out of a preset area.
This first version of the smart shoe is aimed at very small children, with fun, vibrant colours on a chunky sneaker design. The shoes are charged without needing to be plugged in — kids just pull them off and plonk them on a fun colourful wireless charging pad. The chip inside is not a huge power drain so that the 520mAh battery will last a couple of days.
Potentially, the smart technology could be employed in other shoes, perhaps designed for seniors or other at-risk people for whom it would be useful if family or caregivers could monitor their movements.
The most obvious concern is security. Any time one device sends information to another, that data is potentially vulnerable to being intercepted.
Parents face a uniquely modern dilemma: would you rather cope with the risks of not knowing where your kids are or the risk that others may be able to access that data too? This is the question.
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