Our wearable tech assistant Rachael Yeung has been busy on another WTF project – making her very own LED light up shoes! Here’s how she combined coding with fashion and troubleshooting skills to make these FUNky and FUNctional LED light up shoes!
All of the components to make light up shoes.
Why LED light up shoes?
I was inspired by Anna’s blog from the Wearable Tech Expo Tokyo where she reported on the Orphe shoe. The Orphe shoe was created for dancers to record their choreographed moves so they could dance freely.
Our friend in London also inspired us when she wanted to wear light up shoes to her friend’s wedding!
And finally, the global Electric Run is a 5k nocturnal adventure where you are transported into the night wearing as much glow in the dark outfits and accessories you can possibly wear through 5km of diverse wonderland with music and fellow glowing people!
There are many retail stores that already sell light up shoes but the problem is that the batteries are hidden so once they reach the end of their life, that’s it! No more light up shoes!
So I found the brilliant Adafruit website, to show us how to make our very own LED light up shoes complete with circuits, conductive thread, soldering, coding the arduino FLORA and an external battery pack to keep our shoes charged and ready to glow!
Successful initial testing of the circuit! It worked!
Having already made a Self Lighting Bag, I was armed with experience of coding and circuiting a similar project. However, working with a sturdier structure of the shoe and robust faux leather material posed quite a challenge! I learnt how to solder the wires onto the Arduino FLORA and I added some popper closures onto the FLORA to make it detachable. But because we decided to solder the wires onto the FLORA, it made sewing the poppers moot! Definitely something to think about for the next project!
The battery pack recommended is quite bulky – fitting 3 AAA batteries into the shoe is quite uncomfortable so we found a teeny tiny lithium ion battery that is rechargeable and a better fit!
After successfully testing the circuitry, I sewed the Velostat (pressure sensor) into the shoe, attached the conductive thread and I was ready to glow!
Success!! LED light up shoes!
Light up heels?
For next time, I’d love to try a different style of shoe such as heels as well as a different coloured background of the LED strips (we used a black background). This way I can really experiment and make a bold statement!
The prototype was only released this year at Tech World in San Francisco this June.
We have recently found out that Lenovo are looking to create fitness tracking smart shoes that light up! The concept has been on going since 2014 and currently they are focusing on creating a unique “foot movement control” feature for sports, that will work without the connection of a smartphone or watch. The prototype has only just been revealed this year! Some feedback from the general public so far is that ‘it’s a technological overkill!’ and there are concerns about the durability and battery life, but there could be potential to go with gaming and Virtual Reality.
A FUN, FUNky and FUNctional WTF Product
I love my light up shoes!
I’m very proud of my achievements and troubleshooting techniques in making these LED light up shoes. It’s a great upgrade on the shoes I had when I was a child and no more tears after the battery runs out! I’m really looking forward to wearing these light up shoes at an Electric Run event or at a wedding! I’m not sure as a wedding guest or the bridal party, but it would sure steal the show. I may have to ask the bride first! However, whether I’m wearing them for fun or function I know I will always look fashionable with a bit of a tech twist! I’m looking forward to my next WTF project!
This blog was written by Rachael Yeung our Wearable Tech Assistant at MadeWithGlove. Rachael is a tech enthusiast and blogger on Wearable Tech Fashion. With a background in textiles and fashion, Rachael is making some great WTF products for us at MadeWithGlove.