• $450

Wearable tech for the summer

No New Folk Studio’s prototype of its Orphe “smart footwear” was well-received last year, when its Indiegogo campaign raised more than 200 percent of its target. Now, the sneakers are finally available for pre-order via Isetan’s online Mistore.

In the daytime Orphe look like regular sneakers, but in the dark, they become something far better. Each sole has around 100 LEDs that can be controlled by 9-axis inertial motion sensors. In simple terms: the soles glow different colors depending on movement of the feet or the music you happen to be playing. All this can be customized by Orphe’s Scene app, which also allows users to share information on the internet.

Orphe may seem gimicky and something that only performers would be interested in, but there are other applications of the sneakers that make them an interesting concept. The colors can be customized, they can glow in time to music, and they can be programmed to have movement trigger sounds so that your feet can be used as an instrument. Orphe are even versatile enough to be used as controllers for interactive games or art installations.

To encourage more creative applications, Orphe is also offering free software development kits and a platform for developers to share their ideas.

Orphe sneakers will be available in black or white and are priced at ¥44,712. The shipping date is set for the middle of August.

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