LAS VEGAS -- When a loved one falls down, they might not have the wherewithal to press a button or call for help. That's where the E-Vone smart shoes come in.
Here at CES 2018, we learned more about what makes these shoes tick. They could provide peace of mind for anyone caring for aging parents, but could also be worthwhile for hikers or anyone who works outdoors alone.
Let's say your grandmother trips and falls in the kitchen. The E-Vone shoes uses multiple sensors (including an accelerometer, gyroscope and pressure system) to determine that the fall occurred, and will activate an alarm.
The shoes we saw were not working prototypes, so a company representative for E-Vone, a French startup, showed me how the technology works using a smartphone app. Flipping the phone over abruptly simulated a fall, which triggered the flashlight on the iPhone and a constant buzzing.
In real life, the shoes would use their own GSM chip, antennas tuned to a long-range, low-power network -- LoRa to industry specialists -- and GPS to alert the wearer's family and friends and provide geolocation details. The wearer would feel a buzzing in the shoe to let them know the alert had been sent.
This peace of mind won't come cheap, though. E-Vone says that the shoes would start at around $150, and you'll pay $20 for the monthly service. Another option might be leasing the shoes for $30 per month.
These clever shoes could hit the market as soon as this summer, but it's not clear when they might arrive in the U.S. Nevertheless, this is a promising technology that I hope gets adopted.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.