Initially launched for the military, the network was approved for civilian use in the 1980s, and now 96 million pathfinding wonders are in use in North America alone, according to Canalys, a market research firm that tracks the industry. That number is expected to more than double by 2015. Image Credit: Getty images

Washington: The first shoes with built-in GPS devices — to help track down dementia sufferers who wander off and get lost — are set to hit the US market this month, the manufacturer says.

GTX Corp said the first batch of 3,000 pairs of shoes has been shipped to the footwear firm Aetrex Worldwide. The shoes will sell at around $300 (Dh1,100) a pair.

Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services who was an adviser on the project, said the shoes are likely to save lives and avoid embarrassing and costly incidents.

"It's especially important for people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's who are at the highest risk," Carle said. "They might be living in their home but they're confused. They go for a walk and they can get lost for days."