An Unforgettable™ announcement - GPS SmartSole now available / The Unforgettable Blog • Unforgettable.org: A GPS shoe insole tracker could be just the solution needed for the huge challenge of wandering in people with dementia
This week saw the arrival of the GPS SmartSole by US wearable technology company GTX Corp available for sale via Unforgettable.org.
It’s an innovative insole which can be used to unobtrusively monitor your loved one and allow you to find them should they become lost. The insole contains global positioning satellite (GPS) technology and has a battery life that lasts 2-3 days to ensure lasting safety between charges.
The technology lets you create ‘geozones’ around a specific address or addresses so the person wearing the insoles can move around the zone, but if they leave the area, you can be alerted via an app on your phone (available for both IOS and Android) or through text or email.
The problem of wandering
According to a 2013 World Alzheimer's Report from the US:
• 60% of people with Alzheimer’s will become ‘lost’ at least once.
• 70% of those will become ‘lost’ three or more times.
• 46% of wanderers not found within 24 hours may die.
In many cases, although it may appear that the person is simply ‘wandering’ around aimlessly, they’re often trying to get somewhere for a specific reason, it’s just that the reason doesn’t quite tie in with where they should be at that current time. It’s why it’s often called ‘walking with purpose’. However, wandering can put the person in danger, and it’s essential that you find them as quickly as possible.
The inspiration for Smart Sole
The idea behind the insole came about from a famous missing persons case in the United States. In 2002, a 14-year-old girl called Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her parent’s house while the rest of her family slept. Luckily, she was found nine months later – alive – and her abductors were caught and brought to justice.
However, it gave Patrick Bertagna, chief executive of GTX, the idea of developing a GPS device that would have made finding Elizabeth much easier and faster.
He started developing a shoe that contained GPS technology in it. However, it was in 2007 when he was approached by Andrew Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University, and an expert in senior housing issues and technology for the elderly, that they realised that the area where this would be of most benefit was in helping to locate people with degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, who had wandered off.
The Navistar SmartShoe,
which had GPS trackers embedded into the heel, was developed under license. The SmartShoe was version one, and like most new technologies, version two – the SmartSole – came out a few years later. The added benefit was that individuals with dementia were unlikely to forget to leave the house with their normal shoes, ensuring the tracker stayed with them for longer.