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App-Blocking Shoes to Disconnect You From the Digital World

As a remedy to the ever-connected Internet of Things, these "well-being wearables" let you have some digital time out.

by Kevin Holmes
Apr 13 2016, 12:35pm


Image courtesy of Anatomic & Co

The fact that we can be reached whenever, wherever, effectively means people require ways to disconnect. You could just switch off your phone or throw it away and go live in a cave, but there are other ways. Because connected devices don't just have the capability to keep us, well, connected—they can also help block connections, too.

At least, that's the idea behind this pair of app-blocking shoes, a collaboration between men's footwear company Anatomic & Co, scientists from University College London, and Duane Holland from creative agency DH Ready. It works by having a RFDuino chip inside the sole which connects with a smartphone app. This is programmed to communicate with all the apps on your phone and turn them off at certain user-specified times of the day.

"For example, if someone is wearing the shoes during the day at work it will be unblocked, but from 6PM on weekdays and on weekends it will switch to blocked," Holland explains to The Creators Project. "You can also set a ‘Friends & Family’ white list, meaning anyone on this can still contact you with messages still making your phone vibrate or sound." 


Image courtesy of Anatomic & Co

As well as tapping into the trend for digital detoxing, the shoes also follows in the trend of anti-surveillance, privacy-enabling fashion that has been explored by various artists and designers, like Adam Harvey for instance, or yesterday's launch of an anti-surveillance coat

"By subverting the principles of the ‘Internet of Things’ and bringing mindfulness closer to technology," notes Dr Alastair Moore, UCL advances’ deputy director, "I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more products like this over the coming years.”


Image courtesy of Anatomic & Co


Image courtesy of Anatomic & Co

The shoe is currently in beta phase and a Kickstarter campaign wlll launch this summer to fund its development. Click here to visit Anatomic & Co's website. 

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