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.

21 thoughts on “Nikes With Power Laces, Just in Time for Next Year

    1. considering special effects back then were not usually CGI, how do you suppose they actually did it? My guess is a pull string set, two per shoe, ran behind and under the car.

        1. Also, if you look closely, the trainer he is putting his foot into each time doesn’t wobble a millimeter. A sure sign that they were firmly secured to the floor because the pull strings were gonna be yanked hard!

      1. quote:
        “Although the self-lacing shoes appeared to be complicated technology, with remote controls and small motors, designed specifically for the film, Bob Gale explained in the commentary to the second film that the special effect was actually quite simple. The first shot was of Marty putting on the shoes and placing his feet on the ground. For the second shot, the prop shoes were bolted to a platform made of fake asphalt, with the laces running down through holes. On cue, a stagehand would pull the laces tight and a light would switch on, illuminating the Nike logo. Electronic sound effects were added later to complete the illusion.”

        1. In fact it seems that there was only one “mechanical shoe”: if you pay attention, only one shoe is seen being lock in each take, and the NIKE logo is in both cases in the same side.

  1. Great Scott! (His surname is Scott)

    You should have just picked a better clip to show the coding as you were mistyping a lot, but I know it’s not the same on film as it is in real life. (That’s why you never see really good soldering videos)

  2. To be honest, BOA laces are much more efficient and can lace the entire shoe with a single drum. I have them on a pair of hiking boots and they have worked really well the entire time I’ve had them, about 10 months now.

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