Like many a proud Hoosier born and raised in Indiana, I learned to dance to my favorite John Mellencamp song, "Cherry Bomb."
However, unlike other kids, I was schooled in the art of grooving by one of the greatest dancers east and west of the Mississippi River: my dad. I've stolen many of his moves over the years, especially his hand clap move, best represented by saxophonist Clarence Clemons (RIP) in Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" video.
For those of you two-left-footers who didn't grow up with a style-hound father with killer moves, I suggest these: GroundWave Shadow Trainers. They're a prototype of a pair of sneakers that teach you to dance.
The shoes are equipped with accelerometer sensors that correspond to an app on the users' smartphone. The app illustrates the proper way to do certain dance moves and gives live feedback to let you know if you're really shakin' 'em down.
Sykes designed the app and shoes to, yes, teach clumsy clodhoppers to dance, but more so as way to make exercising fun and interactive for kids.
"The aim of this project is to produce a design proposal for a product that introduces exercise into a child’s life in an innovative and exciting way," Sykes wrote on the project's website.
HowStuffWorks: How Dancing Monsters Work
"This product combines exercise with video game style interaction. Whereas many products, such as the Wii approach the union of physical interaction and gaming with a bias towards the game and start with the gaming platform, this product gives full attention to the quality of the exercise thus approaching the union with a bias towards the health benefits."
Again, drawing from my ethics of fashion that my old man instilled in me, I have this to report: from a design stand point, these shoes are pretty sharp. Tipping my cap to my love of athletic shoes from the 1990s, the GroundWave Shadow Trainers look like a pair of Bo Jacksons crossed with a pair of Nike Air Trainer Huaraches crossed with a pair of Clarks Wallabees. In my eye, that's one hell of a trifecta.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna blast the Stones' "Miss You" and boogie in my bare feet.
credit: Tom Sykes