DIY lace-tightening shoes are where Lego meets ‘Back to the Future Part II’

When you think about the exciting tech that 1989’s Back to the Future Part II promised us, self-lacing shoes have to be right up there with hover boards.

Since that movie was made, we’ve had a few real-life tributes to self-lacing shoes from giant companies like Nike. However, industrial designer Vimal Patel has come up with his own, low-fi take on Marty McFly’s iconic footwear — and it just so happens to be made out of Lego.

“It is just what it says on the tin: a self-lacing shoe hacked together with glue and bricks,” Patel told Digital Trends. “It uses standard Lego Power Functions components — remote, receiver, battery box, and motor — to wind and unwind shoelaces.”

Patel said that he built the shoe for fun as a way of exploring practical uses for Lego, combined with other materials. The Lego mechanism itself is attached to the shoe laces at the side. When Patel turns on the power at the battery box, the winding axle cranks into gear and tightens the laces for him.

Being made of Lego, of course, don’t expect to go tramping around the city while wearing these (or, indeed, whipping around Hill Valley avoiding goons), but it’s certainly a fun hack. It was also as Patel put it, a chance to, “bring some life into a worn-out shoe that I would have otherwise thrown out.”

If you want to get hold of your own pair, you’ll have to show a bit of ingenuity, though.

“I don’t have plans to make more of these or sell them — like I said, it was purely for fun,” Patel continued. “I think the best thing your readers can do is to try making their own. The shoe only has three permanent Lego connection points, so those three parts are all I had to ‘lose’ with this experiment.”

All you need then are to find some old shoes headed for the trash, and you’re ready to go!

Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Outdoors

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.