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Smart shoes do for the blind what Google Glasses can for the sighted

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Yesterday Ducere Technologies, an India based start-up tech company, released news about it’s latest wearable technology product, Lechal. The Lechal footwear was quickly dubbed ‘smart shoes” by the media. While a promotional video on the Ducere Technologies website shows athletic people running and biking in the shoes the footwear is already being hailed as an innovative product that will help both the blind and the sighted rethink the way they get around.

Lechal, the Hindi word for “take me there,” is a fully integrated piece of shoe technology. Simply give any GPS linked phone your destination and the shoe wirelessly syncs up and begins to give you directions. The shoe depends on touch technology to show the way, with the left or right shoe buzzing to show wearers which way to turn. Gone are the days of trying to peer at a map on your phone rendered blank by the sun, or trying to hear the GPS directions over the noise of a busy street.

“Current assistive devices rely primarily on providing audio feedback,” said the creators of the shoe in a press release put forth by the company. “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction."

Like most smart technology the shoes don’t simply do one job. While directing the user the Bluetooth and GPS enabled devises will also track the distance walked in a day, the path taken, and estimate how many calories the wearer has burned.

The Lechal can be bought as a full shoe, available in red or black, or as an insert that can be added to any existing pair of shoes already in your closet. They retail for the surprisingly affordable price of $100 for an insert or $150 for the full shoe. The retail price covers the Lechal, a charger, and the app needed to link your phone to your shoes. The app is compatible with Windows, i OS, and Android operating systems.

The company is already taking pre-orders on their website and the shoe is said to be selling briskly even though it won’t be available until March of 2015.

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