- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Isaac Daniel calls the tiny Global Positioning System chip he has embedded into a line of sneakers “peace of mind.” He wished his 8-year-old son had been wearing them when he got a call from the boy’s school in 2002 saying the child was missing.

The worried father hopped a flight to Atlanta from New York, where he had been on business, to find out that it had been a miscommunication and that his son was safe.

Days later, the engineer started working on the prototype, Quantum Satellite Technology, a $325 to $350 sneaker hitting shelves in March that promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the world with the press of a button.

“We call it a second eye watching over you,” Mr. Daniel said.

It’s the latest in the GPS arsenal, which includes cell phones promising to keep children away from sexual predators and fitness watches that track heart rate and distance.

The shoe works when the wearer presses a button to activate the GPS. The call is fielded by the company’s 24-hour monitoring system, which costs an additional $19.95 a month. In case of an emergency, such as when a patient with Alzheimer’s or a child is missing and doesn’t press the button, Mr. Daniel says, a parent, spouse or guardian can call the monitoring system and give their password, and operators can activate the GPS.

Once the wearer presses the button, he or she has about six hours until the battery expires.

Although other GPS products often yield spotty results, Mr. Daniel says, his company has spent millions of dollars and nearly two years of research to guarantee accuracy. Their 2-by-3-inch chip, tucked into the bottom of the shoe, relies on a patented covert alarm apparatus, which integrates the GPS with a small computer.

Analysts say accuracy often depends on how many satellites the system can tap. Mr. Daniel’s shoe and most other GPS devices on the market rely on four.

“The technology is improving regularly. It’s to the point where you can get fairly good reflection even in areas with a lot of tree coverage and skyscrapers,” said Jessica Myers, a spokeswoman for Garmin, a leader in GPS technology based in Kansas. “You still need a pretty clear view of the sky to work effectively.”

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