Created by Didier Brun and Sid Lee for Adidas to help them promote the release of their sneaker collection MEGA, the team created a system that would allow dancers to create their own beat or music with their shoes. Although somewhat similar to Nike project by W+K and rhizomatiks, the Sid Lee team have seem to taken the concept a little further making a device like element allowing anyone to pick it up and have a play. The team also built an interactive installation in several Shops in France to allow others to play with the Megalizer.
The system is wireless, placed on each shoe (no cable running on the dancer’s leg, or belt case), efficient at a 6-7 meter range from the speakers. It includes very low latency (max 30ms), handling up to 6 shoes simultaneously. There are two force sensors for each shoe (one for the heel and one for the toe), and a wireless transmitter per shoe to capture the pressure applied on each of the sensors. The first transmitter prototype built was using a BlueTooth chip (class 3). Although the result was satisfactory at half-a-meter distance from the receiver, the latency increased with the distance. At 7 meters, the latency went as much as 1/8th second. Instead a XBee technology was used: with a low power consumption reaching minimum latency at a decent distance.
Each shoe includes A 6-pin dock to connect the sensors and charge the battery, a status LED, switch, 110 mah liPo battery, voltage regulator, XBee chip and a few resistors.
The software includes a server processing the receivers’ inputs (Processing) and an AIR application that interprets the signals, chooses and play the sounds. UI in the flash application is using Keith Petters Minimal Components.
You can read more about the process here including download the Processing server code.