Orphe is the new smart wearable, which has been developed by Japanese startup No New Folk Studio. They are like a version of the light up, pressure sensitive sneakers that you can pick up for your kids in the local store. Only way cooler.

The startup is currently looking for backers for the product through crowdfunding website Indiegogo, for their programmable performance shoes. The Orphe shoes are fitted with 100 full-colour, serially controlled LEDs that is coupled to advanced motion sensors and a wireless Bluetooth module. All of these technologies combined are packed into footwear that will no doubt enhance your inner ‘Kevin Bacon’ and make you more footloose on the floor.

The LEDs are designed to let users map interactions between light, sound and movement. They can be controlled in two ways; via a connected app, which communicates with the shoes through Bluetooth; and also, the user can use the connected app to program the shoes so that they will respond according to the wearer’s movements.

No New Folk said:

“Orphe’s lights can be set to change along with the speed and orientation of a dancer’s movements, allowing for various forms of expression and performance — giving motion an ‘aura’, for example, or creating a design using after-images…The 9-axis sensors embedded in each sole pick up the movements of each shoe in real time. This data can then be used to wirelessly control various external devices, allowing the shoes to function as musical instruments, video game controllers, foot switches, etc.”

The hope of No New Folk is that the footwear’s user base will design their own macros and subsequently share them with the Orphe community. This will further the development in the way the shoes are utilised.

No New Folk continues:

“More than money … what we need are people who will join us in creating with new forms of artistic expression using these tools,” the team wrote. “We hope that with the participation of a diverse range of people involved in the creation of expressive art, including not only dancers and musicians but also developers and designers, our technology can lead to the emergence of a completely new culture of audiovisual expression.”

The footwear was developed with assistance from a traditional shoemaker in order to overcome the challenges of integrating both electronics and footwear. The designs come in plain black and plain white, in order to let the LEDs shine brilliantly.

Each shoe contains a small unified circuit-board with an ARM Cortex-M3 microprocessor, an InvenSense MPU-9150 9-axis motion-tracking device, a BLE wireless module and a charging circuit. These are then coupled with the high-density LED strip around the sole of the shoe.

The accompanying iOS app for the Orphe shoes is free and the No New Folk team are hoping to release an SDK for the tech, so the community can create their own software.

If you are an early bird adopter, a pledge of $270 (about AU$355, £180), will bag you a pair (hopefully in your size) After this time they will be $330 (about AU$435, £225) per pair. The delivery is estimated to be in December 2015.

Why not head on over to Orphe’s Indiegogo page and check out your next pair of sneakers?

[Image via indiegogo]