The world's first-ever smartshoe is called Le Chal, which means "let's go" in Hindi. Designed by Anirudh Sharma, who works at the MIT Media Lab, and Krispian Lawrence, these shoes work as haptic navigation devices that connect to your smartphone.
The basic idea is pretty simple. You simply tell your phone where to go using the app's voice recognition software, and the app uses GPS to plot the course from your current location. Once you're on your way, the shoes vibrate when it's time to turn—on the left side for a left turn and on the right for a right turn. The vibrations become more intense as you get closer to your destination.
It's a remarkable claim considering that no one has yet come up with anything resembling actual "artificial gills." Codenamed "Triton," the mysterious concept comes in the form of a small mouthpiece, reminiscent of the "rebreather" James Bond uses in Thunderball (1965) and Die Another Day (2002). It is designed to mechanically capture the oxygen gas present in water and store it in a compressed air tank. As creator Jeabyun Yeon describes on his website, water is filtered using a pair of cylindrical shaped gills that house fine threads with "holes smaller than water molecules." A built-in micro compressor, powered by a quick-charging miniaturized battery, then condenses the oxygen, making it readily available as the wearer inhales.
The printer, dubbed Braigo (short for Braille with Lego), was created from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 set, which retails for $349. Banerjee also added $5-worth of additional materials, which means the finished product costs about $350. This makes Braigo much more affordable than other Braille printers, which can retail for more than $2,000, according to Banerjee.