Tag Archives: e-ink display

ShiftWear lets you customize your sneakers from your phone

ShiftWear is putting app-controlled e-paper displays on your shoes.

It seems like everything these days is becoming smarter, and that doesn’t exclude our shoes. While the idea of customized sneakers is a far cry from new, one New York-based startup has decided to take another step into the future. How, you ask? By creating footwear that can display personalized, moving images on its sides. (And you thought your LA Lights were cool!)


If you think about it, shopping for shoes is quite the wallet-draining hobby. But what if instead of filling your closet with countless pairs of kicks, you only need one that could change its appearance at the press of a button? This may soon be a reality thanks to ShiftWear.

ShiftWear enables you to control the design of your sneaks from your smartphone, adjusting them as you go from work to the gym to a night out on the town. From simple black and white patterns to complex graphics and animations, you can create the shoe of your liking right in the palm of your hand using its accompanying mobile app.


“The app you use to program new designs on your shoes is the same app that will connect you to a marketplace with the freshest designs from artists all over the world,” the ShiftWear team writes. “Buy their designs right from the app, and they’ll show up on your shoes in seconds.”

Their first model, the Classic, may look like just any other sneaker but that’s where you’re mistaken. Available in low, mid and high top form, each pair is actually wrapped with a flexible, high-definition e-paper display that allows you to show off your individual style and match whatever outfit or occasion. ShiftWear syncs with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you can swap out designs at any time.

Since the idea here is to save you closet space and money, ShiftWear is built for frequent use. Its soles are coated with Kevlar fiber to withstand the typical wear and tear of traditional footwear, and since they’re waterproof (up to 16 feet), they can be washed whenever necessary.


The stylish accessory can also be charged in one of two ways: either with every step you take or wirelessly when you’re not moving. If you choose a static image, which will probably get boring after awhile, you won’t even have to refuel it at all since it won’t be consuming power. What’s more, ShiftWear syncs with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you can swap out designs at any time.

So, are you ready to slip your feet into a pair of ShiftWear? Then head over to its Indiegogo campaign, where David Coelho and his collaborators are currently seeking $25,000. Although there’s no estimated delivery or guarantee that the team will pull this off, the futuristic concept of ever-changing kicks may be just as sweet as Marty McFly’s self-tying laces.

Open Informant takes on surveillance in a networked age

Open Informant – powered by an Arduino Pro Mini (Atmel ATmega168) – is a wearable badge with an e-ink display that “attempts to confront the unsettling realities of surveillance in a networked age.”

Designed by the Superflux crew, the device was recently exhibited at the Wearable Futures 2013 Conference.

“Open Informant is [both] a phone app and e-ink badge. The app searches your communications for NSA trigger words and then sends text fragments containing these words to the badge for public display,” a Superflux rep explained in a recent blog post.

“Using the body as an instrument for protest, the badge becomes a means of rendering our own voice visible in an otherwise faceless technological panopticon. By openly displaying what is currently taken by forceful stealth, we question the intrusive forms of mass surveillance adopted by democratic nations on its own citizenry, and in the process, shift the conversation around wearables from being about you and your body as machine, to the culture of machine intelligence and algorithmic monitoring.”

According to the Superflux rep, the aesthetics of the wearable device are purposefully embedded in popular DIY Maker culture to encourage greater adoption and use. As such, all aspects of the badge’s design and construction are available on Github for DIY Makers to use and mod.

It should be noted that the Open Informant was recently featured on the official Arduino blog.