Add these reactive, customizable LEDs to your favorite shoes and be the life of the party wherever you go.
Anyone who grew up in the 1990s can surely recall begging their parents to head out to the nearest Foot Locker to grab a pair of L.A. Lights. (If not, you may remember this commercial.) Well, get ready to spark up some nostalgia as a new Indiegogo campaign is looking to bring the brilliant trend back, enhanced with modern-day technologies.
The brainchild of Bay Area-based startup Ultimate Collection, BLINKY.SHOES are exactly what they sound like: LED strips that make your sneakers illuminate in bright patterns in response to your movement. With each step, a wave of light spreads out from the point where your foot touches the ground. This is made possible through the use of a three-axis accelerometer that senses the strength of your stride and determines whether you are tapping your toe or heel. In other words, the harder you step, the more energetic the pattern gets.
Whereas back in 1992 wearers were limited to having one illuminated pair of sneaks, BLINKY.SHOES strips can be attached with velcro to any set of existing kicks, enabling unlimited possibilities. What’s more, the strips can be cut to fit any size and are powered by rechargeable batteries. You can even rotate through various color patterns on the spot, while the strips can be easily taken off and swapped out.
BLINKY.SHOES are ready for use straight out of the box, and are fully customizable for the Maker-savvy crowd as well. While they come with six to eight different color patterns pre-installed, thanks to an embedded ATmega32U4 at its heart, the lights can be reprogrammed to do just about anything. The platform features WS2812B individually-addressable LEDs, which are controlled by the Arduino-compatible MCU and powered by 2600mAh lithium-ion battery pack. The controller can be reprogrammed via USB and Arduino IDE, while the default code that ships with the unit will be freely available on GitHub.
“We made BLINKY.SHOES because we wanted to wear them ourselves. Over the last few years we’ve spent a lot of time going to dance parties and wandering around the desert at night. We’ve seen a lot of cool light-up costumes, but never great light-up shoes. We knew we wanted shoes that reacted to movement, that had colorful and complex patterns, and that we could customize. When we couldn’t find a product that fit that bill, we decided to build it ourselves,” the Ultimate Celebration team explains.
Ready to light up your steps? Head over to BLINKY.SHOES’ official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $5,000. A basic kit will ship with enough components to light up a pair of your favorite sneakers, which means two of everything: LED strips with built-in PCBs, light-difficusing sheaths to cover the strips, rolls of velcro, rechargeable batteries, USB cables and plastic clips. Delivery is expected to kick off in November 2015.