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.

36 thoughts on “Power Laces Take Us 5 Years Into The Future

  1. lol fucking awesome, where do i buy them

    maybe you could get a smaller servo and hide it in the heal?
    not sure if you would need arduino to control, you could put a button on the sole and one on the outside for turning on and off

    i’ve honestly bought shoes because they looked similar to the ones in bttf

  2. Muscle wire / Nitinol / Flexinol has a ridiculously low contraction ratio, so you would need lots of it arranged in some kind of pulley system. You can buy modules with this sort of arrangement, but I don’t know what sort of strength it has. Then you’d need some sort of latch so the muscle wire could turn off after tightening.

    This is a good effort. Look forward to buying a pair to go with my hoverboard.

  3. These makes me smile. I LOVE IT!! Only problem I have is:

    “You mean you have to use your hands?”
    “That’s like a baby’s toy!”

    Nice hack, though. Good job!!!

  4. Uh, that servo system is pretty cool, but why not use a ziptie-like locking system system so there isn’t so much tension needed on the servo to hold the laces back? You know, just need enough power to pull the laces down, but to hold them down it should be locked.

  5. Okay at first I was a little skeptic, but after reading the Instructable I’m now very impressed. As a first-time arduino project, this is fantastic and I’m sure it will lead to even grater projects for Blake.

    Definitely needs to be less bulky (duh) by 2015 — also, some xtra tension to the laces might be required for some.

    I’d also suggest putting the laces between an inner shoe lining and the outer leather/fabric to strategically hide the aesthetically unpleasing inner side of the shoe without disturbing the wearer’s foot (looks like a strange bundle of dreadlocks!)

    Perhaps custom laces would be a good idea, too — long thin ends (wire/cable?) would make it easier to hide and attach to the servo.

    Very nice job Blake! Next, will you be building the auto-fit and auto-drying jacket? :)

  6. “Uh, that servo system is pretty cool, but why not use a ziptie-like locking system system so there isn’t so much tension needed on the servo to hold the laces back? You know, just need enough power to pull the laces down, but to hold them down it should be locked.”

    that is not a bad idea actually, use the releaseable type zip ties and a small solinoid to trip the latch and bob’s your uncle :)

  7. This is a nice idea but the size isn’t great. It’s nice how it tightens your shoes but again the size! Many if the battery was in the heal? I wear size 13 shoes so there’s room for a thin battery but the servo will have to be changed into a motor. But if that isn’t posible many a tiny servo instead of the big one.

  8. I have a boa system on my snowboard boots and it is ridiculously simple. start with that and add a worm gear motor to tighten the “laces” which is standard steel wire.

  9. Another solution in search of a problem.

    Now let me offer one of my own:

    It sucks having to bend a little and reach over about 4 inches to turn a mechanical window crank, right? The first step, then, is to replace that crank with a geared motor. Now, all you have to do is push a button, and the motor will do the work for you!

    “Wait, Pookey! We already have that!” you say. This is where my real stroke of genius becomes apparent.

    Fit the door with a CRANK attached to a geared motor attached to a generator, which in turn is wired to the window motor. When you want to raise or lower your window, you simply turn the crank!

    Awesome, huh? And it’s “green” too, because you don’t burden the alternator (and hence the engine) with the load.

    I would argue that from a health standpoint, it might even be good for you. Turning the generator crank is the least you should do to get access to the Burger King drive-through intercom.

  10. .. couldnt the same basic thing be accomplished with a few solenoids hooked up to the laces and embeded in teh side of the shoes.. they would have to be pretty small solenoids.. maybe back a ratchet type latch for them so they dont have to be under constant load…

  11. Power laces are stupid. Velcro is the future.

    Simple = better ALWAYS. Einstein and all other modern and past masters knew this and lived by this.

    All we need is shoe makers to make shoes less dorky.

  12. @Tony
    1) you dont need a pulley system you can coil it
    2) it does not have a low restriction rate … you can easily use 4 feet of it to tighten up a shoe with low heat

    like i have said in the past get your facts straight before commenting

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