Dorothy is only a prototype, but the idea is long overdue: An app, paired with a little Bluetooth-connected motion sensor, that can turn any pair of shoes into the fabled ruby slippers worn by The Wizard of Oz’s protagonist.
When the dongle, named Ruby, is attached to a foot, the user simply clicks their heels together -- three times, of course -- to trigger a preset digital action on their paired mobile device. For starters, the Dorothy app offers simple things like texting your location to a handful of friends or initiating a decoy incoming call to your phone, which are both great for inventing an excuse to extract yourself from awkward conversations. Of course, there’s also the option to summon an Uber cab to your location, for those moments when there really is “no place like home.”
In the future, it’s easy to imagine that Dorothy could offer a wide variety of actions and tie into sophisticated automation rules like IFTTT.
Ruby makes clever use of the LightBlue Bean, a chip that combines an Arduino processor, accelerometer, and coin-cell battery into a tiny package. It’s stuffed into a 3D-printed enclosure, complete with gemstone-like facets, which can be clipped to a shoe. Though the whole thing is only about an inch square, the creators at design and development firm iStrategyLabs hope future versions will shrink down to a third that size -- small enough to be built right into a shoe’s insole.
No word yet on when Dorothy/Ruby will be available for purchase, though it might not be too hard to make your own version with a LightBlue Bean and some ingenuity. Check out the video below to learn more.