A lot of airlines pull out all the stops to make their passengers comfortable, but Europe’s leading budget airline, easyJet, is taking customer service beyond the plane with their new GPS smart shoes called Sneakairs.
The technologically advanced shoes, a prototype of which the airline has already released, could help travelers explore new cities with ease via haptic vibrating directional cues that connect to a phone through Bluetooth. People exploring new cities will no longer have to miss out on sights while staring at their phone screens, because the smart shoes will do all the navigating: if you need to go left, your left shoe will vibrate; if you need to go right, your right shoe will vibrate; if you miss a turn, both shoes will vibrate twice as a signal for you to turn around and go back; three vibrations means you’ve reached your final destination.
“You can put your mobile away and you don’t have to be constantly minding the directions on the screen,” a demonstration video says of the shoes’ benefits.
easyJet has yet to announce exactly when Sneakairs will be available for purchase, but the company says customers could buy them aboard flights in the near future.
For customers who just can’t wait for the airline’s version, rest assured: Lechal introduced similar footwear and smart insoles to help travelers navigate in 2014, and Dhairya Dand, a former researcher at the MIT Media Lab, has developed a concept called SuperShoes with an envisioned (but not yet produced) cloud service called ShoeCentral that collects users’ “likes and dislikes (food, people, shopping, weather, places, hobbies, activities, interests, etc.)” and can recommend nearby places for you to visit based on your previous habits.
Meanwhile, for sightseeing fashionistas who prefer to wear slinky sandals while traversing London, Rome and Paris, there’s always the Apple Watch, which also offers haptic directions via wrist vibrations.