Wearable technology is a pretty busy buzzword these days, but some of the coolest inventions take the idea well beyond some gadget that lets you read email on your wrist. Wearable technology can actually be life-changing for some people. Consider, for instance, what these shoes can do for the blind.
The world’s first-ever smartshoe is called Le Chal, which means “let’s go” in Hindi. Designed by Anirudh Sharma, who works at the MIT Media Lab, and Krispian Lawrence, these shoes work as haptic navigation devices that connect to your smartphone.
The basic idea is pretty simple. You simply tell your phone where to go using the app’s voice recognition software, and the app uses GPS to plot the course from your current location. Once you’re on your way, the shoes vibrate when it’s time to turn — on the left side for a left turn and on the right for a right turn. The vibrations become more intense as you get closer to your destination.
Obviously, these shoes don’t do it all. If you’re blind, you’ll still need to watch out for random objects in your path and be cautious at intersections. But they’re a step in the right direction! The shoes also work as a pedometer and help you measure the number of calories burned on your trip. And, at $40 to $50 for the visually impaired, they’re cheaper than a pair of Nikes. They cost $100 for everybody else. [MensXP]