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Now, GPS in shoes

To locate the wearer anywhere

MIAMI: Isaac Daniel calls the tiny Global Positioning System chip he has embedded into a line of athletic shoes "peace of mind." He wishes his eight-year-old son had been wearing them when he got a call from his school in 2002 saying the boy was missing. The worried father hopped on a flight to Atlanta from New York where he had been on a business trip, only to find that the incident had been a miscommunication and that his son was safe.

Days later, the engineer started working on a prototype of Quantum Satellite Technology, a line of $325 to $350 adult sneakers that will hit shop shelves next month. It promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the world with the press of a button. A children's line will be out this summer. "We call it a second eye watching over you," Mr. Daniel said.

It is the latest implementation of satellite-based navigation in everyday life — technology that can be found in everything from cell phones that help keep children away from sexual predators to fitness watches that track heart rate and distance. Shoes are not as easy to lose, unlike phones, watches and bracelets. The company has also put the technology into military boots and is in talks with Colombia and Ecuador.

The sneakers work when the wearer presses a button on the shoe to activate the GPS. A wireless alert detailing the location is sent to a 24-hour monitoring service that costs an additional $19.95 a month.

In some emergencies — such as lost child or Alzheimer's patient — a parent, spouse or guardian can call the monitoring service, and operators can activate the GPS remotely and alert authorities if the caller can provide the correct password.

But the shoe is not meant for non-emergencies — for example, to find out if a teen is really at the library or a spouse is really on a business trip. If authorities are called and it is not an emergency, the wearer will incur all law enforcement costs.

— AP

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