Maxwell Smart goes to the Nursing Home

Shoe Phone Offers Medical Device Potential
Flinders University (01/23/09)

A computer scientist at Australia’s Flinders University has developed a shoe phone. Paul Gardner-Stephen built the shoe phone as a theater prop, but he believes the device could be used to deliver health-related information to home nursing caregivers or senior-care facilities.

The bioinformatics expert says the shoe is a good place to put the electronics needed to store and relay medical data such as pulse, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation. The shoe also can take advantage of the large forces that are conducted as a person stands and walks, and energy can be harvested for charging the device during regular activity.

“A shoe-based device would not only be easy to wear, it could run significantly longer between battery charges,” Gardner-Stephen says. “The shoe-based platform makes it possible to detect shocks and orientation changes resulting from, for example, a fall.”

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