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What do you do with 27 pairs of used shoes? If you’re like Ingrid Bachmann, you would make them into interactive art.

Each shoe has a toe and heel tap used in tap dancing attached to it. The shoes move or dance independently of each other. The mechanical motion of tapping is created using solenoids (tubular magnetic sensors) that move up and down when activated by a switch. Each switch, 52 in total, is controlled by a microcontroller and software that activates the sequence of the tapping of the shoes.

More about the Symphony for 54 Shoes by Ingrid Bachmann

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.



  1. yesnoyesno says:

    seems like this would make the same sound if the shoes weren’t there at all…..

  2. andres says:

    it seemed weird to call solenoids magnetic sensors, I’d think they were closer to magnetic actuators.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a slow connection right now which allows me to imagine what a video might contain for quite a while before I actually get to see it. I was picturing a robotic Riverdance and thinking, “I wish I’d thought of that!” What a let down. I agree with yesnoyesno’s comment, the shoes add nothing. I still think the concept is cool and can’t wait to see someone do it right.