Rhythm’n’Shoes: a Wearable Foot Tapping Interface with Audio-Tactile Feedback

Papetti, Stefano and Civolani, Marco and Fontana, Federico

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

A shoe-based interface is presented, which enables users toplay percussive virtual instruments by tapping their feet.The wearable interface consists of a pair of sandals equippedwith four force sensors and four actuators affording audiotactile feedback. The sensors provide data via wireless transmission to a host computer, where they are processed andmapped to a physics-based sound synthesis engine. Sincethe system provides OSC and MIDI compatibility, alternative electronic instruments can be used as well. The audiosignals are then sent back wirelessly to audio-tactile excitersembedded in the sandals’ sole, and optionally to headphonesand external loudspeakers. The round-trip wireless communication only introduces very small latency, thus guaranteeing coherence and unity in the multimodal percept andallowing tight timing while playing.