The gadget bringing Dorothy’s ruby slippers to life
Designed by iStrategyLabs, the technology consists of a small device (‘The Ruby’) which slips inside the users shoe and uses Bluetooth to connect with and control the response of an installed mobile app.
Aptly named “Dorothy,” and inspired by the fictional characters magical footwear in The Wizard of Oz, the gadget serves to turn any pair of shoes into wearable technology. To trigger the gadget, the user simply clicks their heels together three times, as in the film, and Dorothy is programmed to provide one of several responses.
Still in development stages, current uses for the technology focus mainly around personal safety and avoiding social discomfort. A fake text or phone call can be triggered to get out of an awkward situation (e.g., an important call from your “boss” interrupts a bad first date) while smart phone GPS tracking can be used to send your exact geo-location via text to pre-chosen contacts.
These uses, however, only begin to tap in to the potential for this relatively simple technology. iStrategyLabs is already working with Uber London, looking at using said GPS tracking to order a car to your exact location (so you too can click your heels and be on your way home, just like Dorothy). Likewise, there is talk that the device could be used to trigger the delivery of a favourite food order; presenting companies with a huge opportunity to benefit from those hunger-driven impulse decisions we’re all guilty of.
iStrategyLabs is dedicated to ensuring development ideas for the product are largely user-generated, so that the end result will be both relevant and exciting to consumers. They encourage potential users to share any ideas/suggestions they have of possible uses for the technology with them via their website and social media platforms, offering the chance to win a custom Dorothy in return. With ergonomics of key importance in any wearable technology, the makers are exploring the possibility of Ruby models up to 1/3rd of the current prototype size, to guarantee the final product is as user-friendly as possible.
The gadget is a nod at the era of ‘customer in control’ that we are now in, consumers control their world and call the shots all from a mobile device. Leveraging the power of your smart phone, without the inconvenience of removing it from your pocket, the nature of Dorothy as an individually programmed and personalized device is a platform where brand loyalty will prevail, and showcases the importance of immediacy to the modern consumer.