Written by Group 1 (Ryan Boyd, Sarah Boo, Karen Quach)
Rainbow Walkers: NeoPixel Sneakers w/ Digital Switch by Ryan Boyd
Swatch Type: Digital Switch
These NeoPixel Sneakers were inspired by the Firewalker LED Sneakers on Adafruit. The Circuit Playground Express, which is sewed into the high top, is hooked up to a 3x AAA Battery pack that also hooks into the high top of the sneaker. The cables were soldered from the Circuit Playground to a NeoPixel strip, and there are two conductive threads, one threaded into a pin and the other into ground, taped to the inside of the sneaker. The NeoPixel strip is activated when the two conductive threads are connected by a strip of conductive fabric which would be sewn into the bottom of your socks, causing the lights to appear only when the shoes are worn. The code will show a color wipe of each colour of the rainbow when the digital switch is activated.
- Jumper Wires
- Conductive Thread
- Normal Thread
- Conductive Fabric
- 3x AAA Battery Pack
- Circuit Playground Express
- Strong Adhesive (In my case, Double Sided Foam Tape)
Tools & Techniques
- Soldering Iron
- Sewing Needle
The Circuit Playground Expressed was sewed onto the High Top of the shoe while the conductive threads were threaded into each pin. The NeoPixel was soldered to the circuit board with jumper wire.
- Code: https://pastebin.com/cUUL1qLn
- Video: https://ocadu.techsmithrelay.com/hFXLReferences/Inspiration:
Additional Notes: The ways in which the Rainbow Walkers are different from the Firewalkers are in two main areas. The first is that while the Firewalkers employ a pressure sensor based on velostat and is step activated, the Rainbow walkers use a digital switch which is based on presence or absence of connection between the loose conductive threads inside the shoe, and is thus always activated when the shoes are worn with a conductive fabric sock. The second way the Rainbow Walkers differ is that they employ a color wipe of the entire rainbow rather than one colour, cycling through one colour at a time across the whole strip before moving onto the next. I originally tried to employ the use of a pressure sensor which did work in the 4.2 section of the class section, but because I used a Circuit Playground Express, it did not pick up usable values from the pressure sensor, and instead read a random value between 0-10 no matter how much pressure was applied, and thus there was no way to differentiate a step from nothing happening at all. I needed to create a distinct state of activation, so I decided to turn it into a digital switch instead. An additional tip I employed was the use of a battery pack with a hook so it was easier to keep in place in the sneaker. One difficulty I had was finding a long lasting adhesive for the NeoPixel. I tried using hot glue, double sided tape, and even gorilla glue. Nothing seemed to stick for long, but double sided tape would at least hold together. The original Firewalker employed an adhesive that too 24 hours to dry, so moving forward I may look into using that for long term use.