Built July 2007
Write up April 2009
I, like many geeks have an affinity for spy gadgets. Q's bag of tricks from the James Bond movies and the such.
With the advent of Bluetooth, many of us have been able to build our own 'spyphones' from salvaged headsets and implement some of these spy gadgets.
Other geeks and hackers had built things like the Bluetooth Glove (thumb in your ear, pinky at your mouth), the Bluetooth Bananna (... ring, ring, Bananna phone!), and the Bluetooth Motorola brickphone. However as of Defcon 15 in 2007, no one had built the most classic of spy communications devices, Maxwell Smart's Shoe Phone from the show, 'Get Smart'.
So, as part of our wireless extravaganza for the Church of WiFi, I decided to just do it myself.
1 X Cheap Logitech bluetooth headset (any headset should work, though
consider how the unit is controlled)
1 or 2 X Mens dress shoe with a slight heel. Womens shoe may work, it's a matter of space.
1 X Rotary tool
Assorted glue, snips, etc as needed
My shoephone started life as a cheap Logitech HS04 headset I got on sale for $20 making it sacrificial for the cause. This unit had the advantage of an ear 'bud' type speaker that sat in the ear, rather than some that just sit flat against the ear. This made it much easier to insert in the shoe and made for a cleaner install in my opinion
The shoe was the cheapest dress shoe I could find and it was damn uncomfortable to wear :). It had a heel just thicker than the width of the headset.
Build was pretty easy and messy. It could have been cleaner but I literally built it the day before I left for Defcon to present it.
Tore back the insole layer of the shoe and was greeted by a half inch 'plate' of some fiberous board material that was a pain to cut. I stenciled a rough outline of the headset on that 'plate' and began to cut with the rotary tool and a cut wheel. Took a while and many small trims, but I got through.
The Heel underneath was rubber and inside the heel was a grid of rubber to support the wearers weight. Obviously this needed to go and a cavity created to house the headset. I could have gone in the the bottom of the shoe, but from the inside seemed to make more sense. Once again, the rotary tool was used to make a hell of a mess, but a cavity was formed enough to allow the headset to sit below the insole with the speaker 'bud' sitting flush with the bottom of the heel.
The advantage with this shoe was the front of the heel lined up perfectly with where the microphone was on the headset and so only a small, non-visible hole had to be made to allow the mic to be used as it was without having to hack some extension wires on it.
The Headset was controlled by 2 buttons on the 'top' (when worn in the ear, they would point up or down depending on which ear) which controlled volume as well as pickup and hangup. Accessing these controls was a problem at the beginning since I envisioned adding some microswitches to the outside of the shoe for control, but time was against me. My quick and easy solution was to drill holes horizontally through the heel and just use some small push rods to activate the buttons. I ended up using the shafts from Q-tips as they were the right diameter and they were strong. A touch of glue on the buttons kept everything together.
Once it was assembled and tested, a problem was noticed that since I had glued the push rods to the headset, I could'nt remove it to charge the headset.
One 1/2" hole in the back of the heel later and I could shove the original charger plug into the headset from outside.
In the end, the speaker is in the middle of the heel with the mic poking out the front of the heel in the direction where your mouth would be pointing if you were using the shoephone ala Maxwell Smart.
For any presentation I'm usually not content with boring. I like some showmanship.
At one point in the talk I began alluding to the other bluetooth devices and lamenting no one had built a shoe phone. I arranged with my friend Rick to call me on my phone (paired to the shoe that I was wearing) at one point in the talk. My phone rings and I excuse myself to 2000 people and pull of my shoe and answer it. I end up telling him never to call me on this shoe and hung up. About half the audience got the joke immediatly and the other half got it when I pulled up the slides of Maxwell Smart.
A great many improvements can be made to the shoephone. Cutting a metal plate to put over the hole in the heel to spread body weight around the hole becuase as it is now, the wearers weight can come to bear on the whole thing.
Extension wires and more elegant placement of the speaker, microphone and buttons could be done to make it more 'clean', along with a removable plug for the hole in the heel for the charger. Most of this depends on the shoe and the headset design. This one was driven by time and is not much more than a headset shoved into a shoe heel. It could be alot more.
Others may argue with me, but as far as I can tell, I built the first Wireless Shoe Phone (corded ones have been around for eons). If you know of others built before July 2007, let me know.
The practicality of the Shoe Phone is up for debate, but it's fun none-the-less at parties and to have sitting one a shelf.