GTX, a technology company based in California, launched a line of footwear that contains a Global Positioning System (GPS) at the World Shoe Association fair in Las Vegas. The footwear itself is made in Taiwan, while the electronic components are developed and produced in-house by two former executives of Reebok, Frank O’Connell and Chris Walsh.

The device that enables the technology, known as cellular miniaturization, is the size of a matchbox. Somewhat like systems based on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), which is still under development, the GTX line allows many useful functions, some of which were demonstrated at the WSA show.

Among other things, GTX’ system allows the user to monitor the progress of his or her physical exercise, to locate criminals in case they escape from prison, and - potentially - to interact with appliances. It also permits a guardian to keep tabs on children and persons who are physically or mentally impaired. The footwear is equipped with software that, for example, can interact with one’s cell phone to monitor a child who is wearing the shoes. Through the interactive software embedded into the system, a parent or a guardian can set up an electronic fence, called a “GeoFence,” which will notify him or her with a phone message if it is crossed by the child wearing the shoes. The parent or guardian can then check on the internet to check the child’s (or the shoes, rather) exact location as well as the speed at which the child is going. A speed limit can also be set, notifying the parent or guardian if it is surpassed.

In another new development in the USA, LL International has introduced a wireless communication system into its urban Dada brand of footwear for sale in the next Fall/Winter season. Called “Code M,” the patent-pending system features a removable MP3 player beneath the footbed and a speaker on the shoe upper, but connected with a wireless headset to listen to your favorite music.