EasyJet's Smart "Sneakairs" Makes Sightseeing Effortless

By Kim Bussing on May 27, 2016

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Sneakairs (Photo Credit: Easyjet)

Most airlines go all out to ensure their passengers have the best possible flight experience. Now, Europe’s low-budget airline EasyJet, wants to extend the positive experience beyond the plane ride with “Sneakairs” — Smart shoes that allow visitors to explore new cities and towns without ever looking at a map.

Unveiled at easyJet’s Barcelona Street Project in mid-March, the smart shoes accomplish this magical feat with the help of a tiny Arduino clone, a Bluetooth module and a vibration motor that are encased in a plastic box and placed beneath the soles. In addition to protecting the electronic components, the box also enables the vibration to spread across the entire foot so that the user doesn’t miss his/her cue to change directions.

How Sneakairs work (Photo Credit easyJet)

To transform Sneakairs from an ordinary shoe to a tour guide, all the wearer has to do is enter his or her desired destination into the easyJet smartphone app. A built-in GPS will determine the wearer’s starting location while the Google Maps navigation tool will help chart the best route. Whenever a change of direction is necessary, the app will communicate with the appropriate shoe via the Bluetooth and cause it to vibrate. For example, if the wearer needs to turn right, he/she will feel the sensation in the right shoe and vice versa. Should the user become engrossed in the surroundings and miss the turn, the smart shoes will both vibrate at the same time, alerting him/her to change course.

Visitors that wander off the suggested path or decide to take a break for a cup of coffee or a meal have nothing to worry about. The smart app will automatically determine the new location and chart out a new route. Once the desired destination is reached, Sneakairs will vibrate three times to inform the user of the arrival and then go back to being ordinary shoes — Until their navigation services are needed again!

Sneakairs (Photo Credit: easyJet)

Sneakairs is certainly not the first navigation shoe in the market. Lechal has been selling similar footwear and also smart insoles that can be placed in other shoes since 2014. However, EasyJet is the first airline to offer them to passengers just as they are about to land in an unknown city. Similar to Lechal, the airline also hopes to develop smart insoles for those that prefer to wear their own shoes. However, before Sneakairs can go mainstream, the EasyJet team still needs to tweak the prototypes. Among the issues that need to be addressed is the smart shoe’s three-hour battery life, which is hardly enough for a tourist to catch all the delights a new city or town has to offer!

Resources: gizmag.com, wired.com, barcelonastreetproject.com

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Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. Who created Sneakairs?
  2. How does Sneakairs help tourists find their way in a new city or town

Critical Thinking Challenge

Can you think of any other uses for smart shoes like Sneakairs?

Vocabulary in Context

“Should the user become engrossed in the surroundings and miss the turn, the smart shoes will both vibrate at the same time, alerting him/her to change course.”

In the above...

285 Comments
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  • Bonny Cell Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 11:28 am
    SUP
    • fxamous brookTuesday, December 13, 2016 at 10:08 am
      they look expensive but ugly because of the orange
      • ksd1123
        ksd1123Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 8:08 am
        How are these shoes even going to do anything?!?! ●ᴥ●
        • 21 savageTuesday, December 13, 2016 at 7:10 am
          these shoes look terribal
          • crazy_is_goodMonday, December 12, 2016 at 12:11 pm
            these shoes look terribal
            • famous dexMonday, December 12, 2016 at 11:37 am
              the shoes are DOPE
              • jose hernandez Monday, December 12, 2016 at 11:37 am
                this is cool
                • xandreaMonday, December 12, 2016 at 11:28 am
                  cool soft cloud feeling shoses
                  • tiquinMonday, December 12, 2016 at 8:00 am
                    this is the most smartest idea seen u can hide a tool that helps u walk around and find were u need to go omg so cool. "swag out with a chip in my shoe"
                    • Prachi cute pieThursday, December 8, 2016 at 8:56 am
                      too cool!!!

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