Introduction: A Get Smart Style Shoe Phone (gen 2)

Picture of A Get Smart Style Shoe Phone (gen 2)
This is another in my Get Smart series, which also includes my first working wearable shoe phone, a cone of silence and a phone booth.

This real working shoe phone, with the phone in one shoe and the bluetooth headset in the other, was the basis of a Flinders University press release, on The New Inventors and a headline item on the ABC South Australian TV News:





It was also used in a couple of dozen radio interviews which were conducted by shoe phone, including this one. You can find more details at http://realshoephone.com

It will be informative to review the instructable for my first shoe phone if you want to make this one, but not necessary.

Step 1: Buy Yourself a Nice Pair of Shoes

The most important characteristic for the shoes is that they have an old style wooden heel, or at least one that is removable, since that is an option too.

It is also helpful if the sole is reasonably robust.

Step 2: Get a Suitable Mobile Phone and Bluetooth Headset.

Picture of Get a Suitable Mobile Phone and Bluetooth Headset.

Now, this shoe phone works by having a bluetooth headset in one shoe, and a mobile phone in the other. The reason for this is that when you see a mobile phone in the shoe when opened, it kind of ruins the magic of it being a shoe phone, rather than just a piece of consumer electronics wedged into a shoe.

I used a Motorola V620, since it has an external antenna. This makes it easier if you end up with a metalic lid on the heel, since a phone with an internal antenna would probably be too shielded to operate.

The V620 works fairly well, but with two annoying caveats: (1) it doesn't do bluetooth if you put a 64KB SIM in (took a while to figure that out); and (2) when on bluetooth you can't use a custom ring tone, instead it always uses the default ring tone. This was a bit disappointing, because it feels like a shoe phone should have a real telephone type ring tone. On the upside, it does voice dialing, which means you can ring out from the bluetooth shoe. Anyway, enough analysis of the V620.

As for bluetooth headsets, I used a Motorola H500, the same as I did with my first shoe phone. The H500 proved itself to be a good basis for a shoe phone.

Step 3: Prepare the Hollow Heels

Picture of Prepare the Hollow Heels

This is the relatively complicated bit.

Remove the existing heels, and replace them will hollow compartments, that use studs to help the lits lock on.

The heel can be made from three pieces of wood that form the sides and rear of the heel. A small piece of wood or metal can then be used to mostly close the front of the compartment, leaving enough room for the telephone antenna or headset charger as appropriate.

A screw in one corner of the heel through a sheet of aluminium works satisfactorily. You can then use contact cement to glue a thin rubber sheet over the metal after you have screwed it into the heel.

Embedding studs into the wood and metal so that when it is being stood on, it cant open or rotate.

Then a clasp on the side of the heel and welded to the metal lid (this is where using steel would make it easier than aluminium, so you don't have to have to worry about oxidation) is all you need to allow it to stay shut when you walk around.

A permanent pen works well to reduce the visibility of the clasp.

Now, I cheated a fair bit here, by using the services of a family friend who is a cobbler, who had a ball of a time working on it. I can heartily recommend this method. But if you have to do it yourself, and are handy with tools, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Either way, make sure that you make the compartment sufficiently big enough to fit the phone of your choice. I'd recommend allowing a few extra millimetres in the vertical direction, because the lid has a habit of bending inwards over time, especially if you use fairly thin aluminium like I did.

Some padding is probably a good idea to avoid unnecessary scratching. You might need to cut some notches in the padding if you use a phone like the V620 that has buttons on the outside, otherwise it might press buttons while you walk. (This happened to me early on, with the result that my shoe left a message on my mobile phone, and would have made any spy service proud with the way it picked up the conversations around me. Of course, pretty much this trick has been used by the KGB since the 1950s.

Step 4: Install the Electronics and Test.

Picture of Install the Electronics and Test.
Once you have made the hollow heels, you have actually done the hard part.

All that is left to do is to assemble it, by putting the phone in one shoe, and the blue tooth headset in the other. I used some PETG plastic sheet and a thumb tack to wedge the H500 into the shoe.

If you haven't already, you can watch the video of the TV item where they show me using it.

I'll also endeavour to upload some more images when I get the chance.


Comments

qdogg (author)2009-02-13

Shoe phones are gr8 but what about putting that nasty shoe up to your face after it's been on a sticky men's room floor, or down a sidewalk full of phlem coughed up by hobos, or piles of pigeon doo from an overhanging sign??

The nerdling (author)qdogg2011-05-04

desgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gardners (author)qdogg2009-02-13

That's why the half-sole is removable, and the heel swings away, to reduce the ick factor somewhat (although I do concede, not entirely). Of course, no self-respecting CONTROL agent would be found in such unsavoury locations in the first place. But the real solution is that the medical applications of the shoe phone would be based on a model that is a speaker phone, and doesn't even get taken off when placing or receiving a call. Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen.

carlos-felo (author)2010-09-03

That's Good! I'm a fan of Get Smart! Thanks for your great idea.

The nerdling (author)carlos-felo2011-05-04

have you seen the other vid with lloyd and the other smart guy?
i forgot the other guy's name

love2make (author)2011-03-12

you dont have to buy a hole new small phone for the shoe do you coudnt you just use the phone in your poket so you just attach a head set in to the shoe

gardners (author)love2make2011-03-13

Hi,

You are right that you can have the phone in your pocket. It just depends how authentic you want it to be, and whether you want the ringing to really come from the shoe. I have used it with the phone in my pocket on occasion, and most people can't tell the ringing isn't coming from the shoe.

Paul.

Foaly7 (author)2010-01-30

Anybody know a cell phone with an external antenna that you can have a different ringtone and still be on bluetooth?

gardners (author)Foaly72010-01-31

Hello,
Depending on how you make your shoe phone, you may find that a phone with internal antenna will be okay.  It really will be a case of try it and see.  I'd try something like a Sony z310i for a small clam-shell phone that has a classic phone ring built in, and definately still uses it when connected via bluetooth.  I use a z310i in my pocket with the shoe phone when I can't be bothered pulling the sim out and putting it in the Motorola v620 in the other shoe.

Foaly7 (author)gardners2010-02-04

That helps. Now I just need a pair of nicer shoes...

joey2542667 (author)2009-07-11

alright! you got in the magazine popular science!!!

gardners (author)joey25426672009-07-12

Oooh. I'll have to check it out. Do you have a URL? Paul.

joey2542667 (author)gardners2009-07-12

no. I have the magazine but can't find the article online

Gamernotnerd (author)joey25426672009-09-04

What month/page? I'll scan it.

gardners (author)Gamernotnerd2009-09-06

Thanks. It appeared on page 69 in the August 2009 issue of Popular Science. Paul.

Gamernotnerd (author)gardners2009-09-06

Got it.

Dr.Hax (author)2009-02-16

Good luck explaining that one when you forget and wear them to the airport...

gardners (author)Dr.Hax2009-02-16

he he :) If I get the chance I intend to make a planned visit to an airport to see what the response would be. Of course I will liaise with the airport security first, so that I don't get into trouble. Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen.

Gjdj3 (author)gardners2009-02-22

Haha, just be careful. I'm sure you're familiar with this story.

gardners (author)Gjdj32009-04-14

Hi again, Well, here I am in San Francisco after wearing the shoe phone all the way from Adelaide, Australia via Sydney, Australia on the planes. Apart from some friendly interest by the airport security people, it was without incident. So it turns you can fly with it; but it is a good idea to tell airport security first. I'll upload the photo of me in a 747 with the shoe phone to my ear when I get the chance. Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen.

Gjdj3 (author)gardners2009-04-19

Nice! Haha, it sounds like the airport security might be more understanding now about electronics.

gardners (author)Gjdj32009-04-20

Well, it is an important issue, as personal electronics (which are often concealed by nature) become more common. <br/><br/>Anyway, here is the image of me on board a Boeing 747 with the shoe phone (turned off during flight, of course).<br/><br/>You can check out the full-size image image at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://realshoephone.com">http://realshoephone.com</a>.<br/>

Sandisk1duo (author)gardners2009-07-12

i though that airport security x-rays shoes

gardners (author)Sandisk1duo2009-07-13

Hi Alex, They do X-Ray shoes, and the shoe phone did go through the X-Ray machines at Adelaide and Sydney International Airports without incident. You can see me talking with one of the security staff at Adelaide International Airport when I was randomly screened for explosives. Like most people, he was quite intrigued by the shoe phone, but saw no security issue. I wanted a photo of the shoes passing through the X-ray machine, but the air safety rules prohibit it. A few weeks before I flew, I visited the airport and spoke to their security chief to ensure that it would all be fine. They ran the shoes through the machine then to confirm that it was all okay. When I did fly, I didn't even pre-warn Sydney Airport. All I did was tell the X-ray operator that the shoes were shoe-phones. However, even knowing that it was within the air safety rules to fly wearing a shoe phone, I decided against wearing it on the way out of the USA, since I understand that the TSA in the US are a bit more jumpy. While I am sure it would have all sorted out fine, I didn't fancy being delayed for hours or days while it was resolved. Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen.

kittycat123 (author)2009-04-12

are you sure it works? if dose it asome!!!!!

gardners (author)kittycat1232009-04-14

Hi,

Of course it works :)

I have just finished presenting it at the IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Systems Applications Symposium in San Francisco (http://www.rtas.org).

Have a great day!

Paul.

iSmack (author)2009-03-24

I saw you on the Today show! :D

advante (author)2009-03-20

WOW!!!! That's Perfect! But How if... -You are in floods Effect: Your phone get broken and maybe you cry cause of your phone. -You step in dirty places Effect: When you answer a call, you get dirty on your face, ear. -You step a disgusting thing (like you step on a poo) Effect: You get your phone dirty, and when someone's call you, you can't answer it cause of the smells. I'm Indonesian, so don't blame me about the grammar. I hate chinese I love america

Zorink (author)2009-02-23

Dang, now mine is going to look like a rip off. I got an old rotary phone and am working on putting it inside a shoe. The shoe will just stay on you desk and answer when you pick up the shoe. I've been busy with college though, so I'm not sure when it will get posted.

gardners (author)Zorink2009-02-23

I wouldn't worry about that. The more shoe phones, the better. Besides, I am interested to see how you do the rotary interface. Paul.

joey2542667 (author)2009-02-23

now you need a hold button so you can click your heels and it'll hold!

gardners (author)joey25426672009-02-23

I know :) I wanted to incorporate the hold button into this prototype, but I don't have any decent surface mount soldering facilities to add the leads onto the H500 circuit board. But be assured, speaker-shoe and hold buttons will be on the next one I make! Paul.

joey2542667 (author)gardners2009-02-23

just make sure it gets pushed when you click your heels!

porcupinemamma (author)2009-02-20

Wonderful!!! Brilliant. Well done!

dnny (author)2009-02-15

improvement idea. run those mic wires inside the shoe. They will break if you really want to walk around whit those shoes.

gardners (author)dnny2009-02-16

The image shows the shoe with the removable half-sole removed. The wires are protected when the sole is in place. If I made the shoe again now, I wouldn't even run the mic on wires like that, as it is more than sensitive enough if the mic stays in the heel (I have picked up conversations while walking around in the shoe!). Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen.

qdogg (author)2009-02-13

Point well taken, I'm glad you've considered that angle as well!

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