The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 May 2006

I told you to stop staring

And this is what you get:

The Electric Cinderella shoes idea began as part of Simona Brusa Pasque's thesis at the Interaction Design Institute in 2002 and was inspired by a beautiful woman who Simona interviewed for her thesis who wanted to be able to "intimidate her intimidators." She wanted to be empowered without losing her femininity, to have the freedom to be sexy without fear. The shoes certainly achieve that, offering 100,000 volts of high fashion stun gun power which can be activated by a control on the matching necklace. The weapon is hidden and when the wearer taps on the matching necklace an electric spark is displayed in the transparent tip, warning the would-be assailant to back off. The weapon is designed for a one time use, in case of emergency, by breaking the tip of the shoe.

The prototype shoe is Plexiglas; the heel contains the electronics and a battery, and two wires run to the toe — the "business end," if you will.

Reaction to the prototype, as detailed in the inventor's thesis, can be characterized as mixed:

"I'm not sure that wearing this kind of shoes would be enough to defend myself, it would be only a psychological effect on me but not so useful in case of aggression."

"I'd prefer another kind of shoes, that's not the style that I normally wear. Something more comfortable that can hide the spark and that people can't see."

"It could be a very strong signal! Better than a knife because you wear it. Showing or not showing the electric spark is really crucial in the communication of you, I always try to avoid conflicts so I'd turn it on only if needed."

"The only problem is that if you use them you have to buy another pair."

I'd say this fits nicely into MIT's notion of wearable hardware, and that I should probably avoid trying to annoy someone who might be wearing these shoes.

(Found at Annika's Journal.)

Posted at 9:50 AM to Entirely Too Cool


"I'm not sure that wearing this kind of shoes would be enough to defend myself, it would be only a psychological effect on me but not so useful in case of aggression."

Oh, I have no doubt it would be intimidating to a masher, since it threatens what he most admires about himself.

"I'd prefer another kind of shoes, that's not the style that I normally wear. Something more comfortable that can hide the spark and that people can't see."

Totally missing the utility of the threat display that nature has built into so many highly successful animal species. I wonder if that's just a (ahem) woman thing?

Posted by: McGehee at 11:26 AM on 15 May 2006