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The Light-Up Trainer Returns


Way back in 1992, US shoe company LA Gear became the menace of parental wallets the world over when it introduced a line of light-up kids trainers, LA Lights.

This was the biggest thing since Velcro, with playgrounds soon filled with brightly-heeled children whose parents had caved to incessant nagging. Then Poggs came out and we all forgot about them. 

Now, some 23 years on, Tokyo-based hardware company no new folk studio Inc. is looking to rekindle our light-up obsession with a new smartshoe system, Orphe (pronounced "Or-fay").


Designed for performance artists (it's alright, we can't break dance either) the Orphe functions both as a customisable lighting system and an audio-visual controller. Around 100 full-colour LEDs are built into the sole unit of each shoe, paired with motion sensors and a wireless module. By using accompanying software or smartphone app, wearers can then control how their shoes light up, setting colours and pulses that correspond with different movements. 

Battery life in the current model is said to last up to three hours, but studio Inc. is hoping to extend this if they find a more potent battery before launch. Currently building funds on IndieGoGo, you can order a pair of Orphe shoes (black or white) for around £183, with delivery expected in December this year.

Should the bright idea catch on (again), we wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Nike gazump the design with their own tech in the near future - as soon as they've cracked the self-tying laces.




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