Samsung Shortcut Sneakers let you click your heels to control your phone

They’re not ruby glass slippers, obviously, and they won’t magically teleport you to a hurricane-ravished farm in Kansas, but they will let you phone home if you click your heels not thrice but once only. And no, Samsung didn’t get its dates wrong and announced a hoax more than two months too late. If you’ve ever dreamed of pulling off some slick dance moves to control your phone, then your dreams have finally come true, somewhat. Yes, these are sneakers that will let you make a call or do a moonwalk to actually start the music you’ll be dancing to. But if that really is your groove, you’ll have to continue dreaming for a bit longer unless you’re one of only six people in the world to ever get their feet into a pair.

Designer: Roel van Hoff for Samsung

The Samsung Shortcut Sneaker is definitely one of the craziest ideas for a phone remote control, but it does try to answer a question that still doesn’t have that many answers today. How do you control a phone when your hands are busy and it’s too awkward to talk to your disembodied voice assistant? Why, by shuffling your feet, of course! Or at least move your feet in a not-so-awkward way to do some simple actions with your phone.

The secret to this interesting method of hands-free control is the two sensors hidden in the soles of the shoes that can keep track of their positions relative to each other. Certain motions and distances would trigger a shortcut that can be mapped to an action, such as the aforementioned heel clicking or moonwalking. Thanks to a smidgen of AI learning from people actually doing dance moves, the sensors are able to accurately differentiate intentional motions from natural, everyday movement.

There are only five actions that can be mapped to phone controls, so you don’t have to worry if you have two left feet. Although the idea of using foot gestures to control a phone sounds a bit over the top, it still manages to make us aware of the limited options we have when it comes to hands-free and voice-free solutions. Perhaps it could spark interest in other wearable technologies that will let you have the same control without the awkward body movement.

If, however, you’re actually sold on the idea, the bad news is that you might never have the chance to own a pair of these smart sneakers, even if you live in the Netherlands. Only six pairs will ever be made, and those will only be given away to lucky Samsung Members in that country. But who knows? If the idea catches on, you might see more fashion brands and shoemakers walking the same path, making people do a little happy dance to call their moms.