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A pair of slippers for exploring alternative input

These slippers are designed with two pressure sensors embedded in each sole and can sense the weight being shifted between the toe and heel of each foot. This information is fed into a computer where, for example, a drawing application can interpret the analog input as drawing directions. Allowing the wearer of the JoySlippers to draw with their feet.

The drawing application demonstrates how different motions make different patterns – visualizing their capability to track motion. I am interested in experimenting with the JoySlippers and their properties as soft, flexible, wearable and portable input devices.

Homemade sensors

The JoySlippers make use of previously developed conductive thread pressure sensors, which are basically homemade force sensing resistors (FSRs). They are made from layers of conductive thread which is stitched into the neoprene of the sole and a layer of ex-static inbetween. All of this is embedded in the slipper’s soles. It is cheap to produce and robust for this use.

The stitches of conductive thread all lead to the heel of the slippers. Where they connect to the wires of the spiral telephone cord, by stitching to a perf-board. Each foot is connected via a spiral telephone cord to the JoySlipper's electronics box. Inside this box the inputs from the toes and heel are connected to an Arduino physical computing platform, which sends the analog pressure values to the computer’s serial port. A Processing applet reads these values, thresholds them and translates them into drawing directions.

The values coming form the JoySlippers can be interpreted any way, for a lot of different applications. The drawing application is a good example for explaination because it is easy to understand and renders imediate output.

Thanks to Mika Satomi and Friedrich Kirschner