Instructables
Picture of Musical MIDI Shoes
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Like many people, I often find myself unconsciously tapping my feet, whether it's along to a song or out of some nervous habit. As fun as that is though, I've always felt as if something has been missing. If only I could trigger the sounds of say, a rabid pack of furious jungle beasts instead of those boring old toe taps. Or, you know, drum sounds or something. I guess that's cool too.

Well, now my dreams have been realized! In this instructable I'll show you how to go about making a pair of awesome musical shoes.

I've entered these in the Art of Sound contest, so, you know, feel free to vote for me!


 
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Step 1: Materials: What You'll Need

Bill of Materials

4 Force Sensitive Resistors

A lot of DIY drum pads have been made with piezoelectric transducers, but in my experience these are unreliable at best. For straight up drum pads they might work ok, but in shoes the sensors are always under a certain amount of pressure, they're not just experiencing brief impacts. Piezos are frustratingly delicate and unpredictable. They crack and bend easily, and the wires to which they are typically attached are usually pretty flimsy.

So, instead, you should use FSRs, or Force Sensitive Resistors. These components are easy-to-use, durable, and more reliable than piezos, at least in this application. Basically, the more pressure you apply to an FSR, the less resistive it becomes. Initially, it has infinite resistance, meaning it acts like a break in the circuit. I bought mine from adafruit. There are certainly other vendors, but I have no idea how and/or if they differ.

1 Pair of Shoes

Yes, this would seem to speak for itself, but there are actually a couple things to take into consideration. For my shoes I used a pair of thrift store skate shoes, the kind with a lot of padding in the heel. This is important, because you need something to conceal the jacks that you'll install in the heel. Otherwise, your shoes are going to be pretty uncomfortable. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend using thin-walled shoes like dress shoes, unless you want to add additional padding. Also, try to pick a shoe that has a rigid material on the outside of the heel, as this will make mounting the jacks much easier.

4-6 10Kohm Resistors

These are pull-down resistors that will each be connected to ground and one end of each FSR.

1 Arduino

The Arduino is an open source microcontroller - it enables communication between the FSRs and your computer. They are available from numerous vendors. If you've never done any programming before you might want to check out some of the tutorials.

1 Project Box

This will house the Arduino and serve as an interface between the shoes and computer. You can order a project box online, buy one at Radioshack, or use something you already have lying around that is more or less box-like.

8-10 1/8" Mono/Stereo Jacks

You only have two heels and two toes, but the Arduino has six analog inputs, so you might as well give yourself the option of using those at some point in the future. Four of these jacks will go in your shoes, and the other 4-6 in the project box. You can get them from Radioshack, Digi-Key, and many other places.

4-6 1/8" Mono/Stereo Cables

...for connecting the shoes to the interface. You'll find them at most electronics-type stores, like Radioshack, Best Buy, or Future Shop. I'm sure you can order them online, too.

1 USB Cable

...for connecting the Arduino to your computer.

1 Roll of Electrical Tape

...for securing the sensors in the shoes.

Mad Foot-tapping Skillz

...quantities may vary.
Uncle Foo5 months ago

Thanks for breaking down the code to something usable. All the other examples had millions of bells & whistles to sort through. This was exactly what I needed for my project.

hilukasz9 months ago
Daito Manabe inspired?
ihan11 year ago
hey im now doing this project
and everything is done
but still not working
becuase i dont know
in arduino where i set this part ???
(you just set a lower and upper threshold for each sensor. If the upper threshold is exceeded, a MIDI message is triggered, and once the force sinks below the lower threshold, another hit can be triggered. It's called hysteresis, and it makes sure that you don't set off multiple messages per hit.)
may are you help me ?
please explain to me
how i setting arduino
please~
kgarapati1 year ago
great work........
did you use serial-MIDI converter(hardware) for this project....?
heeroyui1 year ago
could i use audio jacks from old cd roms and headphone cords to connect?
Hey, great work.
Was thinking you could make kind of a dance dance revolution kind of thing using these!
lrissman2 years ago
Love your work!

Ive been wanting to put together my DIY electronic drum kit for a while,
but dont have much space in my little home studio.

And i thought of this midi shoe idea and googled it to see if it had already been done.

You beat me to the punch. :)

I have a question.
I am wondering if the shoes you have made using the FSR's can be used with conventional drum modules??

or will they only work with piezo triggers?

Thx again for a fantastic Instructables.
Superfish3 years ago
Oh Man, a childhood dream comes true.

I have a question regarding the FSR's ( I'm currently reconstructing your idea!! ;) )
It's a bit difficult to choose the correct FSR's

If you could have a quick look here:

http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/FastSearch.html?search=fsr&initial=true&categorycode=

It would be more than appreciated if you could give me an advise which one are the correct FSR's.

From my prospective i think that the FSR's on the page mostly differentiate from there size.

Thanks alot in advance.

Fish
thobson (author)  Superfish3 years ago
The FSR-400, 402, and 406 should all work just fine. You can see that they're rated for 10g - 10kg, which is a good range for foot tapping. The 406 is bigger, so you can take that into consideration. I found that the 402-sized ones worked just fine in the design described in this instructable.

Thanks! I'd love to see the final product.
Thanks a lot, man! Sure i'll kepp you up to date when i'm finished!!

ssen23 years ago
search 4 megalizer in google itz almost similar bt is wireless
Nice instrument mate ;-)
Hoboman3 years ago
What if you used the concept that some toy pianos used to play music. You know when you played a song, but as long as you hit a note, it still made the right sound to play the next note in the song? That way, you could dance the rhythm to play the song, going note by note, with the correct pitches already preset. Anyone understanding where I'm going here?
carml3 years ago
Where did you get the Arduino and how big is it.
rochelle13 years ago
Hey this is a really cool project. Im doing something similar with a table top pad but I'm a total newbie to this. lol Can you use Processing software with this as well?
thobson (author)  rochelle13 years ago
Almost certainly!
aznxshinobi4 years ago
reminds me of the nike shoe commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyFL_ZKgTaQ
That was the exact thought I had when i saw the title of this instructable. Very cool to see it brougth to life.
Just so you know I successfully made a pair which I plan to use for a composition project soooo thanks!
Meroki3 years ago
make several pairs of these

and make a midi shoe band.

Forbidden planet shoes!
farzadbayan4 years ago
Very nice , I like this shoe !
kitt21064 years ago
it's wonderful,but where to get them
Your amazing.
All your amazing are belong to Instructables.
ergolicious4 years ago
I want to have a pair that goes UNCE UNCE UNCE while I walk.
I believe the correct spelling is "unn-tss unn-tss unn-tss"
yoyology4 years ago
So, essentially, these are Arduino-controlled tap shoes? EPIC!
pickboy2mm4 years ago
NICE!
LH2374 years ago
I can't wait to put this together...stomping away to some serious beats!!

Online Music Production School
kingmetal5 years ago
I'm going to try to put this project together! Super excited. Are the senors pressure sensitive? I know that FSRs aren't that accurate - did you ever consider piezo sensors? I don' t know much about either!
Dysphoria5 years ago
Why not just use drum triggers? Btw, this has helped me at my church. :) Our kick drum was loose on the elec set we use, so I made one shoe and used that.
m0j0j03y5 years ago
That is AMAZING. I have the worst habit of tapping lol. at least this way, it will sound musical to people who aren't listening to the songs in my head. (and the voices...) anyhow you could make so much money if you started full scale production. to bad it would never fit in converse lol. nice -ible. *voted!*
nycnyusa5 years ago
that's awesome! how much money did it cost
thobson (author)  nycnyusa5 years ago
Hey, thanks! The cost depends on the type/quality of shoes you use and whether or not you already have an Arduino. The shoes I used were from a thrift store, I think they were about nine bucks. FSRs from adafruit are seven dollars each, so that comes to $28. The cost of resistors and wire is small enough to be more or less negligible. All in all I'd put the cost in the 40-50 dollar range, excluding the cost of the Arduino.
thobson (author)  thobson5 years ago
Oh, I forgot the jacks, LED, and project box! Those might add on another few bucks or so, so I'll expand my estimated range to 40-65 dollars. It really depends on what you already have on hand at home or in your workshop.
S1L3N7 SWAT5 years ago
Very cool!
Awesome!!!
brunoip5 years ago
Excellent work