Neopixel Pink Ribbon Wearable Winged Feet

Introduction: Neopixel Pink Ribbon Wearable Winged Feet

Race for the Cure.

Walk. Roll. Push. Ride. Run for Life.

Make for a worthy cause and awareness. Make these light up wearable wings for your feet to show your support.

Pair it up with this Light up Ribbon Scarf when the weather gets brisk.

* Still need some fine tuning on the step sensor. And to get parts to make a set. Only one shown.

Step 1: Firewalker Mod...

The wrap around ankle or elbow wings are lit up with Adafruit Neopixel LEDs. This project is based on the Adafruit Firewalkers light up shoe tutorial.

Instead of a FLORA, this is powered by an Adafruit TRINKET, a bit smaller Attiny85 based microcontroller - same as a GEMMA which is the sewable wearable form factor one. I used a small section of Neopixel strip 60 leds/m density of 30 Neopixels and a 16 Neopixel Ring. Because this project is not to mod a shoe but to create a wearable to wrap around any part of your ankles, hands, bare feet or limbs, I suppose you can make a big headband, I needed to come up with a different type of sensor switch to trigger the light up effect. This is accomplished by using a tilt-ball sensor switch to replace the velostat pressure sensor.

There are a few changes to the code. You can download the Firewalker code from the Adafruit Learning System tutorial.

I will just point out the simple mods you have to make to the code. The tilt-ball switch is used as a direct replacment for the velostat foot pressure sensor. I've never looked at the serial output but I know it should go from full off to full high and in analog terms 0 and 1023. You could optimize the code to remove the sensitivity and ranging but it still works knowing that we have either a full step on or off. As always, the fun in using Arduinos or coding is seeing opposite of what you expect, I think when the switch was on, it signaled LOW.

Note that pin 1 is analog pin 1 which is really the physical pin marked # 2 on the TRINKET. The LED strip is controlled by digital pin 1 which is physical pin marked # 1 on the TRINKET.

I had actually 29 working Neopixels on my strip. I think I had lopped off one from a botched soldering job at the end of the strip which was used on a previous project. The Neopixel Ring adds another 16 elements to the middle of the chain. I had spliced in the wiring to the middle 14th Neopixel. The DATA OUT from the 13th Neopixel on the strip is wired to the DATA IN on the Neopixel Ring. The DATA OUT on the Neopixel Ring is wired to the DATA IN on the 15th Neopixel on the strip. The DATA OUT/DATA IN bridge pad is cut with a sharp razor knife between the 14th and 15th Neopixels on the strip. This is to splice in the Neopixel Ring as the middle of the long Neopixel strip and to have the remaining Neopixels on the strip act sequentially. The GRD and Vcc or +5v are wired to their respective pads on the strip. The Neopixel Ring is getting power and ground as a parallel circuit.

Tin the pads with a blob of solder and tin the ends of the connector wires first. That way you only have to touch the connection for a bit so that it solders fast. The mylar substrate of the Neopixel strip is easily damaged by heat from a soldering iron.


Your settings may be different depending on what you use. The total number of LEDs and number down each side might change. I think I played with changing the rearmost LED on shoe variable to get all of my Neopixels to light up. Note that STEP PIN is the analog pin number which might be different than what is marked on the actual board.

#define N_LEDS 45 // TOTAL number of LEDs in strip

#define SHOE_LEN_LEDS 22 // Number of LEDs down ONE SIDE of shoe

#define SHOE_LED_BACK 1 // Index of REAR-MOST LED on shoe

#define STEP_PIN 1 // Analog input for footstep

#define LED_PIN 1 // NeoPixel strip is connected here


Look for this line to make sure you change the analog input pin number to match the one you are using. The internal pullup resistor setting makes it so we don't have to wire an additional resistor to the switch to make it work in the circuit.

void setup() {

pinMode(1, INPUT_PULLUP); // Set internal pullup resistor for sensor pin


I've always have problems with a decrement loop i-- so I modded this line instead to get the flash sequence to start in the middle and radiate out to the ends of the strip.

// strip.setPixelColor(i+SHOE_LED_BACK, r, g, b);

strip.setPixelColor(SHOE_LEN_LEDS-i, r, g, b);

strip.setPixelColor(SHOE_LEN_LEDS+i, r, g, b);


Step 2: The Crafty Part...

Get some felt or fleece to make the wing covering. This was all kinda freeform but we essentially need a set of wrap around wings, the pouch to hold the battery pack and electronics and a fastener strap.

This is probably a good application for velcro to make it easily adjustable for any size. Don't use that pre-glued sticky tape velcro. It really doesn't hold on flexible fabric and will gum up your sewing machine possibly breaking a needle.

Cut the pieces to shape. We want one or two layers so that it will diffuse the Neopixels to give a softer glow. You can also stuff it with some fiberfill later to diffuse the Neopixels. This is like making a stuffed pillow so leave an opening so you can turn everything inside out for finished seams. If the wings are too floppy, we can add a piece of supporting wire just like in those pop-up hampers.

I made the outer wing structure and then made an open case strap for the battery pack and Trinket with breakout board. One end of the band was sewn to the back of the wings where it would wrap around your ankle. A piece of the cut loop or hard plastic part - the gripper - velcro was sewn on to the fastening strap. The gripper velcro seemed to have latched on to the felt I used. See where the gripper pad lands on the back of the wings and sew the corresponding fuzzy loop part of the velcro patch there.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

Once your wing covering is turned inside out, gently stuff in the electronics.

You can route the wiring by cutting holes in the fabric if needed. Tuck and secure any excess wiring.

Turn on the device or plug in the batteries to test the lights.

You will have to position the tilt switch sensor in a way that it activates on the down step or position of the foot. The tilt switch was wired with stiffer wire so you can bend the leads to hold its position. Adjust as necessary.

Now go out there in the deep dark night...


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Feet Challenge

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Halloween Costume Contest 2015

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm gonna use this idea to uptune that very unpracticle bracelet I need to wear instead of goin' to prison...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I guess the big ball and chain that your wife got you is kinda hard to hide...wait, decorate, wait, no winning here...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I tried to hide that ball in my underpants but all I got was lots of women stalking me, which made my wife even more angry...