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High-tech ballet shoes trace physical movement

Tuesday 18th November 2014
Newly designed ballet shoes are able to track the physical movement of a dancers feet.
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Following a ballerina can be complicated as they kick and twirl, pirouette and arabesque, causing a flurry of motion and putting a large amount of pressure on the dancer's feet. 

Designer and amateur dancer Lesia Trubat has created a new way of tracing the path of a ballerina as they complete their routine, which could help professionals learn more about how the discipline impacts the feet.

Previously Ms Trubat has developed projects that illuminate the movements of ballet, but her most recent E-Traces focuses on feet and the power they can create for a professional dancer.

As reported by the Huffington Post, E-Traces is a small electronic device, which is fitted to the bottom and side of a dancer's show. Developed by Lilypad Arduino, it is able to record the moments that the foot comes into contact with the floor, and then tracks the movement.

These are then sent to a custom mobile app program, which then results in a picture of the choreography. She told the news provider that dancers such as Meghann Snow and Tiit Helimets were her inspiration for the project. Ms Trubat adds that many artists have explored the relationship between dance and technology, with many apps using these to track motion.

"The idea is that this project could be extrapolated to other dance disciplines (even [disciplines] not related to dance like other sports)," she told the Huffington Post.

"The applications are varied. From self-learning -- or showing the steps in dance classes - to the graphical representation of live performance." 

As well as helping dancers perfect their own choreography, the device could also be of use to podiatrists who wish to study the impact that certain sport or dance has on the feet. Doing this, it would be possible to see what exactly a patient is doing that is damaging, if the patient is unclear about the root cause.

Written by Mathew Horton

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