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Jul 8, 2015 3:50 PM ET

Archived: BLINKY.SHOES: Add these reactive, customizable LEDs to your favorite shoes and melt brains wherever you go

iCrowdNewswire - Jul 8, 2015


BLINKY.SHOES are LED strips that make your shoes light up in bright, beautiful patterns in response to your movement. With each step, a wave of light spreads out from the point where your foot touches the ground. They use an accelerometer to sense the strength of your steps and whether you’re tapping your toe or your heel. The harder you step, the more energetic the pattern gets.

BLINKY.SHOES strips can be attached with Velcro to any pair of shoes you already have. The strips can be cut to fit any shoe size and are powered by rechargeable batteries. You can rotate through color patterns on the spot and the strips can be easily taken off or swapped from one pair of shoes to another!

BLINKY.SHOES are ready-to-wear out of the box, and are also fully customizable for more technical users. They are Arduino-compatible so you can easily reprogram them with your ideas, using our open-source code as a starting point. Our goal is to make the best tools possible for you to add light and color to your step in your own unique way.

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. After enjoying them and getting a lot of positive feedback, we decided to expand the project and make them available to everyone!

Will you program your own color patterns? Will you use the light-up strips to make an entirely different wearable that we haven’t even considered? Our dream is to see you looking fantastic with BLINKY.SHOES and to use them in ways we haven’t imagined. Now we need your help and support to make that a reality.

The basic reward (THE BLINKY KIT) will come with components to light up two of your shoes. That means you’ll get:  

  • Two LED strips with built-in custom printed circuit boards (PCB)
  • Two light-diffusing sheaths to cover the LED strips and give them a beautiful glow
  • Two rolls of Velcro to attach the strips to your shoes (we’ll provide 2-3x extra)
  • Two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries 
  • Two USB cables to connect the batteries
  • Two pairs of plastic clips to attach the batteries to your shoes or socks

Note that this reward does not include a pair of shoes along with the kit. You will provide the shoes yourself! Assembly is easy and only takes seconds–all you need is a pair of scissors.

For the rest of the rewards we added extra accessories to help in your light-walking-journeys, like an extra pair of batteries with extended battery life, or a solar charger for when you’re on the playa and don’t have a power outlet available. We’re also offering a reward that includes a stylish pair of shoes with BLINKY.SHOES strips already attached, no assembly required!

What exactly is this thing? It’s a strip of RGB LEDs connected to a custom controller, powered by a USB lithium-ion battery pack. The built-in accelerometer looks for heel stomps and toe taps and measures the strength of each step. 6-8 different color patterns will come pre-programmed. You don’t have to sew, solder, or program anything. But if you want to custom program them, you totally can. If you’ve used an Arduino then you already know how to program BLINKY.SHOES.

No really, what are they SPECIFICALLY? The strips use WS2812B individually-addressable LEDs and are controlled by an ATmega32u4 microcontroller and ADXL335 3-axis accelerometer. The standard batteries are 2600mAh lithium-ion batteries which can be recharged using any powered USB port. The controller can be reprogrammed using just a USB cable and free Arduino software, and the default code that ships with the unit will be freely available on our website (http://blinky.shoes) and on GitHub.

We are planning to get BLINKY.SHOES shipped to you by November 2015. Our manufacturer has already sent us an early-run shipment that looks great. We are continuing to stress-test and iterate these units and we are getting ready to put a bigger and better batch into production when this Kickstarter campaign closes.

Ultimate Celebration is a group of friends who have met over the past ten years. We create interactive projects that explore the intersection of art and engineering. Our team members come from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and labs on Stanford campus. 

Eric Eason – Lead Engineer. While finishing his PhD at Stanford in Applied Physics, Eric made the first BLINKY.SHOES prototypes as a distraction from his thesis. Now he is Dr. Eric and has sweet shoes. 

Erin DeLaney – Project Manager. Erin got this Kickstarter project off the ground by making a lot of apocalypse-level google docs. She is the one who will be keeping you in the loop with project updates. 

George Schnurle – Manufacturing Engineer. George recreated the scene from Apollo 13 where they dump a box of materials onto a table to solve a problem. He is a Product Designer and Mechanical Engineer from Stanford (‘08). 

Sophie Xie (@puffins) – Product Designer. Sophie owns branding, communication and digital design.

Joy Ding (@joyding) – Video & Photography Production. Joy likes playing with light in the dark, and builds products at Twitter.

Original music in the video: Chrome Sunshine by Edison Field 
Additional contributions: Jason Prado, Claire Rosenbaum, Jeff Harris, Greg Marra, Kate Cushing, Alex Collins, and Andrew Wansley

Special thanks to all other Ultimate Celebrators who helped along the way. <33

Contact Information:

Ultimate Celebration

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