GTX Corp recently concluded a new pilot program for its GPS SmartSole system, the first smart shoe that tracks the user’s location. The company is currently signing a distribution and reseller agreement with Way4Net. Way4Net in turn placed its first commercial order, with delivery dates set to hit over the next six months. This means that the GPS SmartSole system will be on hand—on foot?—in the German market directly.
Reports suggest that as much as two percent of the German population currently suffers from dementia; out of a population of around 83 million, about 1.6 million suffer from the condition. This makes for an excellent opportunity for the GPS SmartSoles to step in and stop dementia sufferers from wandering away from caregivers and getting lost.
The GPS SmartSole, much as its name implies, contains a global positioning system (GPS) tracking chip that connects to a cellular network. From there, the sole can be tracked via monitoring website or mobile device application as long as the GPS is active, meaning that the dementia patient wearing the soles can be also.
Since the device is designed to be worn on the feet, there's no concern about embarrassment to the wearer. The device comes in several sizes to fit a wide variety of users, and is sufficiently water resistant to keep it going in adverse conditions. Plus, the device has already won some accolades ahead of its wider launch, taking a second-place ranking in the CTIA Hot for the Holidays Awards competition, where it came in behind Microsoft but ahead of Samsung (News - Alert). It was also featured in the AARP 2015 technology gear guide.
GTX Corp's Andrew Duncan, who serves as director of business development, commented, “We are extremely pleased to have another successful pilot transition into a commercial launch and we are proud to partner with a well-entrenched company like Way4Net. We are currently investing a lot of resources in Germany which is where we design and manufacture our GPS and cellular chip and have recently signed an M2M agreement with Telefonica (News - Alert) Germany which will support our connectivity throughout Europe.”
Keeping track of elderly relatives, particularly those with diminished mental capacity, can be difficult. Often used to wielding authority, it can be difficult for some to accept the need for such tracking to begin with, and that's what makes devices like these worthwhile. Instead of some bracelet, which can be taken like a shackle—or worse, some kind of collar—the GPS SmartSole is largely indistinguishable from just wearing shoes or boots. Theoretically, the person wearing the GPS SmartSole may never even know it’s being worn, though that's an ethical matter some may feel hesitant about. Still, it's unobtrusive, and allows for easy tracking and recovery should the wearer depart care unexpectedly.
Suffering from dementia isn't easy on anyone, the sufferer or the caregiver alike. But with tools like the GPS SmartSole on hand, dementia may prove easier to live with, providing safety to the sufferer and that all-important peace of mind to the caregiver.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere
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