Sensor-enabled shoes


Beat Feet is a pair of shoes and hat that allow a solo performer to orchestrate audio loops in real time using dynamic, unexpected sounds.

The outer sole of each shoe is lined with four strategically placed force sensors that detect which part of the shoe sole collides with the floor, and how fast. The shoes communicate with a laptop wirelessly via Xbee radios strapped to the performer’s legs.

The sensor data is parsed in Processing and mapped either to predetermined sound files, or to a MIDI sound library, depending on the performer’s preference. While using the MIDI library, the performer can change instruments by executing a specific movement. The performer can choose how sensitive the shoes are by setting thresholds, and change output volume by adjusting velocity. The hat, also communicating wirelessly via an Xbee, controls audio loops with a start-record/stop-record function which employs the stylistic gesture of touching the brim. A second button on the brim clears the loop.


Top view of sensor-enabled shoes with wireless transmitterTesting responsiveness of sensor-enabled shoes

Screenshot of Beat Feet monitoring and sonification software

Hat brim loop buttonBeat Feet electronics in ankle cuff

Beat Feet Schematic


Video: Sebastian Buys



  • Modified shoes
  • Custom electronics
  • Custom software



Related Courses

Related Posts