The death of autistic New York tween Avonte Oquendo, who walked out of his middle school in 2014, highlighted the sometimes deadly problem of nonverbal youth wandering away from where they are supposed to be.
That’s why former Wall Streeter Debbie Stone created “Pop.u.lace,” shoelaces with a GPS tracker on them that once connected to the app, will show you where your loved one is.
If the shoelace wearer isn’t where they are supposed to be, the app will “wake up” and alert up to five users via text message.
“It’s an incognito way to keep an eye out and give parents peace of mind,” she said.
Stone, who has a son on the autism spectrum, said she wanted to give other parents with autistic children peace of mind with Pop.u.lace, which will track a user’s whereabouts through their shoelaces. Although there are other tracking devices on the market, Stone pointed out that Pop.u.lace (priced at $59.99) can’t be easily removed and isn’t difficult to wear.
But the app – which will be up by summer 2018 – is also a boon to fitness enthusiasts, people suffering with dementia or alzheimers, or even a spouse who may be concerned about a partner’s fidelity.
“This not only helps people with autism,” Stone said. “It also helps joggers, runners, hikers – all of these different worlds that can come under this one place.”