Is that your shoe ringing?!

Yes it is! The shoe phone – a long running gadget joke in comedy spy TV show Get Smart and the movie that followed – is a joke no more.

Although shoe-shaped phones have been available for some time, never before have gadget geeks been able to lay their hands on a real, wearable shoe that doubles as a wireless phone, capable of receiving and making telephone calls.

Engineer Paul Gardner-Stephen, a post-doc fellow in bioinformatics, hails from Australia and he and his new invention have been all over the news down under.

Why did he get the urge to make a phone out of his shoes? (Pretty random way to spend a Sunday afternoon…) The gadget was originally developed as a theater prop for a local church camp. One heel harbors the phone and the other the Bluetooth headset, so you need both shoes for the phone to be operational.

Gardner-Stephen now believes an offshoot of the shoe phone could have important applications in the medical field. By managing pulse, blood pressure and blood oxygenation, as well as being able to detect if a patient has had a fall, the device could mean improved remote patient management – if Gardner-Stephen can get doctors on board.

As per CNet News: “A shoe is a good location for housing the electronics required for storing and communicating these measurements,” the inventor said. “Shoes are well-accepted by most people, and are simple to put on and take off.”

You can make your own shoe phone if you like (Gardner-Stephen’s kindly supplied us with instructions), but airport security might make a fuss, and if you live in a neighborhood where people don’t clean up after their dogs, perhaps this is not the gadget for you. Caution aside though, we’d be really impressed if you figured out how to slip his device into a pair of sexy stilettos. Lots of female spies out there, and they can’t exactly be inconspicuous walking around in Gardner-Stephen’s clunkers…


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