Paging Maxwell Smart – O2's line of upcycled shoe phones


February 7, 2013

Using a Welly as a phone on a day when you would wear a Welly may not be a well considered decision

Using a Welly as a phone on a day when you would wear a Welly may not be a well considered decision

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In an effort to draw attention to their O2 Recycle program, British cellular service provider O2 is upcycling old, unwanted cell phones to give them a new lease on life. The first project sees recycled handsets and vintage footwear combined to create fully functional shoe phones that are also works of art.

According to O2, thirty million cell phones are bought in the U.K. every year, with many old phones thrown into the trash. This isn't a good idea, as cell phones contain toxic materials that shouldn't be disposed of in a landfill, but can be recycled. O2 has responded to this problem by starting their O2 Recycle program which, like similar programs around the world, buys old cellphones and other electronic devices no longer needed by their owner.

The first four "Walkie Talkies" designed by Sean Miles are based on iconic footwear including pairs of brown leather wingtips, Hunter Boot Wellingtons, Nike Air training shoes, and a set of heels from luxury French designer Christian Louboutin. Embedded neatly within the footwear are old LG and Nokia cellular phones that have been resold to O2 Recycle. Each Walkie Talkie performs exactly as a normal phone would, the keypad being incorporated into the sole of the shoe.

“I hoped that, by turning them into Walkie Talkies, I would raise a smile and perhaps a laugh and create things that people wanted once again." said Mr. Miles. "I’ve been using them while out with friends and they never fail to start a conversation, even when I’m not using them as a phone! I hope that they can get more people talking about the need to recycle old gadgets rather than binning them.”

Mr. Miles is developing additional forms of upcycled phone-embedded items (such as handbags and gloves) for the O2 Recycle Collection, which will go on display at a week-long exhibition in March. The Walkie Talkies are valued at £2,500 (US$3,930) per pair and exhibition attendees will be eligible to win all of the upcycled phones. My wife wants the heels, but I would probably settle for the wingtips.

Source: O2 Recycle

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer. All articles by Brian Dodson

These are perfect for proffessional shoebombers. Gentelmen terrorists are coming. But really, how the duck do you take this through a TSA checkpoint in a timely manner?

Arthur Dent

For the airport you have to take your shoes off anyway (at least in America last time I went on a plane, I don't know if the rules have changed since then).

This might be good for those who lose their phones. If this were a prepaid phone and the regular phone was lost this could be used till the other one was found or replaced.

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