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GPS Shoes For Alzheimer's Patients 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the grandma-catching dept.
A shoe-maker, Aetrex Worldwide, and GTX Corp, a company that makes miniaturized Global Positioning Satellite tracking and location-transmitting devices, are teaming up to make shoes for people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. "The technology will provide the location of the individual wearing the shoes within 9m (30 feet), anywhere on the planet. Sixty per cent of individuals afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease will be involved in a 'critical wandering incident' at least once during the progression of the disease — many more than once," said Andrew Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University who served as an advisor on the project. Not only will this technology allow a caretaker to find a loved one with a click of a mouse, but the shoes are more humanizing than a bell hung around the neck.

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GPS Shoes For Alzheimer's Patients

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  • by panthroman (1415081) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:25PM (#28270187) Homepage

    GPS shoes could track... anyone wearing the shoes. Wandering children [slashdot.org], suspicious spouses, prisoners, whomever you want.

    Am I missing something, or is this story less "new tech" and more "we finally found a relatively non-controversial market." Congrats for the shareholders, but hardly newsworthy.

  • Re:critical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaXintosh (159753) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:26PM (#28270207)
    Critical means "Having the Potential to become Disastrous." And when Alzheimer's patients wander, it has just that potential. People who suffer from the condition can become easily lost, confused, and aren't likely to seek out help. In some cases, they can be belligerent, and combative toward people who do want to help. This puts them in direct danger. A humane way of tracking them in the event of these incidents helps empower people, and might allow people to keep lovedones with the condition at home, as opposed to in assisted care where oversight is tighter and they're less liable to wander off and get in this danger. "Critical Wandering Incident" is a good way to describe it, in my opinion.
  • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:28PM (#28270247)
    How about this: We modify Grandma's shoes with a Sharpie to say "My home number is 555-1234" (or whatever for the nursing home). I have a hard time believing that the marker idea isn't better than a shoe that will likely cost hundreds to thousands of dollars ( old people often need custom orthopedics)and a cellular/GPRS/SMS/whatever subscritpion to report the information. Both solutions assume that the altzheimer's patient will remember to put their shoes on before they go walking...
  • I call bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:29PM (#28270263)
    The technology will provide the location of the individual wearing the shoes within 9m (30 feet), anywhere on the planet.

    Just as long as they are not in a tunnel, inside a large building, in a canyon, or have any other obstacles around them that block signal from the GPS or block the signal that this device transmits, of course! Why do marketers continue to insist that GPS is some kind of magic technology that works everywhere, and ignore the limitations of technology? This probably won't even work inside some of the nursing homes where Alzheimer's patients normally reside!
  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:37PM (#28270393)

    If they are inside a building, or elsewhere that the GPS signal is disrupted, then they probably will be easy to find. You know they haven't left.

    If they walk out of their facility/home/etc, then the system probably will have a last known position of sorts. That way, you can at least have a pretty good idea what building they went into and then begin your search there.

    Having a last known location is a lot better than having no clue at all, I would think.

  • by L3370 (1421413) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:47PM (#28270565)
    I believe there are more than enough interested parties to keep our GPS satellites up and running. Goverments of numerous countries make use of this ttechnology. Many commercial organizations profit from this technology as well. As long as there is someone that is able to make money off of this I'm sure funding will be available as well... Where did you get this statistic of GPS failing in less than 2 years?
  • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:53PM (#28270623) Homepage

    We modify Grandma's shoes with a Sharpie to say "My home number is 555-1234" (or whatever for the nursing home).

    Not much help for people searching for her is that? Nor is it much help for those who find her since the shoe is an extremely unlikely place to look for a phone number or other form of ID.
     
     

    I have a hard time believing that the marker idea isn't better than a shoe that will likely cost hundreds to thousands of dollars ( old people often need custom orthopedics)and a cellular/GPRS/SMS/whatever subscritpion to report the information.

    If they already need orthopedic shoes, then adding a GPS to them won't increase the cost much.
     
     

    Both solutions assume that the altzheimer's patient will remember to put their shoes on before they go walking...

    Ambulatory patients are generally dressed and undressed by the caregiver. The patient has no need to remember to put the shoes on. (At night, when the shoes aren't being worn, a wanderer in night clothes is far more likely to be noticed by security while leaving, or wandering down the street.)

  • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by avandesande (143899) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @03:10PM (#28270849) Journal

    Who said this was infallible?
    Anyone with a little commence sense realizes the shoes would be helpful in many cases, like during a trip to the zoo or to visit their family.

    It also makes is more reasonable for a family to care for their relative than to send them to a nursing home.

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