Nikes With Power Laces, Just in Time for Next Year

With the world’s first hoverboard being shown a few days ago, we’re on the verge of the fabulous world of tomorrow from Back to the Future. Hoverboards are cool, but there’s a wealth of other cool technology from the far-off year of 2015: Mr. Fusions, inflatable pizza, Dustbusters, and of course, Nikes with power laces. [Hunter] just built them, and with the right shoes, to boot.

[Hunter] is using the BttF-inspired Nike Air Mag shoes for this build, along with a few bits of electronics – an Arduino pro mini, a force sensing resistor, and a motor. The build began by carving out a notch in the back of the shoe for the electronics. A small bit of fishing line goes around the shoe, providing the power behind the power laces.

A force sensitive resistor under the heel of the insole tells the microcontroller when a foot is inside the shoe, and a rotary encoder on the motor shaft makes sure all the power lace cycles are the same. It’s not quite the same as the shoe seen on screen – the lower laces can’t be replicated and it’s certainly not as fast as the BttF shoes, but it does work, and as far as shoelaces are concerned, they work well.

Videos below.

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As Millenials grow up do they demand cooler LED sneakers?

flora-LED-sneakers

We’re hoping that whomever came up with the idea of integrating LEDs into children’s shoes is kicking back on a beach somewhere living off the residuals of the idea. We see those things everywhere. Now the real question is, if you grew up with LEDs in your shoes do you expect cooler light up kicks as you age? [Becky Stern] must think so and that’s why she’s showing off Adafruit’s addressable LED strip shoe project called Firewalker.

This is prototype rather than product, so you can see the Arduino compatible Flora board on the ankle of the lit shoe above. There’s also a battery pack hitching a ride on the laces. But those worried about that fashion faux pas can work on a more finished driver that straps to your calf, or can be integrated in the insole.

Lighting patterns are set off by Velostat, a pressure-sensitive conductive sheet that goes in the heel of the insole. The Flora board measures the resistance, triggering a light show (embedded below) when it drops. Now we just need someone to integrate a power generator based on your movement.

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Nice shoes, wanna recognize some input?

Even though giant multouch display tables have been around for a few years now we have yet to see them being used in the wild. While the barrier to entry for a Microsoft Surface is very high, one of the biggest problems in implementing a touch table is one of interaction; how exactly should the display interpret multiple commands from multiple users? [Stephan], [Christian], and [Patrick] came up with an interesting solution to sorting out who is touching where by having a computer look at shoes.

The system uses a Kinect mounted on the edge of a table to extract users from the depth images. From there, interaction on the display can be pinned to a specific user based on hand and arm orientation. As an added bonus the computer can also recognize users from their shoes. If a user is wearing a pair of shoes the computer recognizes, they’ll just walk up to the table and the software will recognize them.

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Heel treads make shoes go

Motorized treads as a replacement for the heel of your shoe? Okay, remember how The Jetsons had moving sidewalks everywhere so you wouldn’t have to walk at all? Well, there’s a much more efficient way to do it and Treadway Mobility seems to have figured it out. In the video after the break you can see several of their prototype units zipping the wearer around quite happily. We think the best part is that with the tread locked in place you can stand and walk like normal, assuming you don’t feel like you have a block of concrete attached to each foot. Maybe the real question is which is more geeky, this or the power lace shoes?

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Power laces take us 5 years into the future

Back to the Future Part 2 provided a glimpse of a future that included hover boards and holographic advertisements. But you don’t have to wait until 2015 to get your hands on at least some of the technology. [Blake Bevin] has produced a pair of shoes with power laces as seen in the film. Of course present day technology doesn’t allow him to make the mechanical parts disappear so you’ll have to deal with two servo motors and an Arduino hanging off of your heels.  But hey, at least you won’t have to tie your own shoes like some 20th century peasant. No word on using these for a little theme music as you walk around but maybe that’s something from the more distant future.

These midi controllers stink!

BeatShoes-midi-controller

Well, maybe saying it stinks is too harsh. But if you build a midi controller out of an old pair of skate shoes you can be certain that they smell. [Thobson] put odor issues aside and added four force sensitive resistors to his shoes (one in each heel and one under the ball of each foot) for a creation he calls BeatSneaks. As force is applied to the resistors, they become less resistive. This change in resistance is measured by the ADC inputs on an Arduino and used to trigger midi events via USB. There’s video after the break, and [Thobson’s] has provided the schematic and code that he used for his addition to a growing family of unusual musical interfaces.

Does this make tap dancing cool again?

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