Micro-Project 4: Disobedient Objects


We were inspired by how siblings would often “borrow” our belongings without permission, and it is especially annoying when they take our shoes. Hence, we wanted to create a hacked shoe that annoys the users whenever they wear it without our permission. The shoe will start to vibrate, and it would not stop until they remove it.


To prank and as well as to deter siblings from taking our shoes without permission.








A portable, hacked shoe that starts to vibrate and give off sounds after an extended period of time. When a person wears the shoe, the shoe does not immediately gives a reaction. Only after wearing it for an extended period of time, most probably when the person had already gone out and was far away from home, that it starts to vibrate and give off sounds. The delay aims to annoy the wearer for using it without permission, and it would be too late for them to return home to change the shoes.

However, we decided to change our idea as it was rather impossible to make the shoe portable without it looking dubious –  we initially thought that there was a way to hide all the parts within the shoe, but we were unable to.




A hacked shoe that annoys the user whenever they take a single step. Decided to forego this idea as we were unable to make the shoe portable.




A hacked shoe that starts to vibrate when a person wears the shoe. As we usually slip our feet into our sneakers without really checking, the user would probably have a little unexpected scare.




We decided to go with Idea 3, as we could not really make the shoe portable.

Below are the few test shots we had done.

Sensors & Actuators used

  • Photocell – to detect the change of light within the shoe
  • Vibrating Motor – continuous vibrations resemble the annoying leg cramps


The vibrating motor was mummified underneath the insole.

Our initial hacked object. We felt that the tapes and wires made it look too dubious, hence we adjusted the tapes and hid the wires and devices inside a shoebox.

We decided to put another insole to hide the tapes and made sure that the tapes which are firmly attaching the photocell and wires underneath the flap would not be accidentally moved or scraped off by the feet.

The Arduino, portable charger, breadboard, and wires hidden within the box.


3 of the participants step forward to try out our hacked object.


Final Hacked Object





How does your hacked object behaves in a way you least expect it to?




Our hacked object behaves very differently during the final check of the whole system. After all our wires were shouldered and connected to Arduino,  the vibration motor started vibrating right away. The vibration did not stop until the wire was unplucked. It did not work as we expected. We wanted the vibration motor to vibrate when lights are covered (Lights are covered when the user places the feet into the shoe). Hence, we have to rewire everything again.




On one occasion, the shoe started to vibrate even before a user places her feet into the shoe, as her body covered the light source. Furthermore, the hacked object behaves differently in different environments, when the amount of light differs, which affects the strength of the vibration and as well as the shoe starting to vibrate too early, or not even vibrating.


What are some reactions you observed from your participants when they interacted with the object?


It was a success that all of our participants automatically walk towards the object and places their feet into the shoe. We realised that when their feet were inside,  they were shocked and it followed by a smile. One of them say that it is comfortable but in the long run, it will annoy their leg. One of our participants told us that before her feet were placed into the shoe, she could feel that vibration. A situation like this may occur when the photocell was covered when the feet were the angle at 45 degrees. It serves our purpose of the project, whereby it is to annoy and prevent them from wearing it. The hacked object was successful.




We made sure that the opening of the shoe was large, the top flap was secured properly, and the shoelaces were tied as we wanted our participants to walk forward and place one of their feet into the shoe. And indeed, people automatically come forward and put their feet into the shoe. People who interacted with the object had different expressions and reactions, such as giggles, gasping, and commenting on how comfortable it is but starts to get annoying after a certain period of time. People who were not involved in the project had larger reactions, with loud gasps and expressions of shock.  


What are the challenges involved and how did you overcome them? What problems still exist? How might you overcome them eventually?


At first, our initial idea was to have a delay in our vibration motor, the purpose is to let the participant leave the house after wearing the shoe and the vibration will happen soon after. It will annoy them throughout the day as it will vibrate when they are far from home. It teaches them a lesson never again to wear the owner shoe in the future. Our idea change again during the process, as we discovered that why not have the vibration motor work whenever the participant wears it. It will stop and annoy them right away. The effect will be faster.


We faced quite a number of the challenges involved in the coding and the wiring. It was not easy to combine it together when we did not learn the coding using parts such as the vibration motor. We search up online and found some information but all of it uses many different parts that we do not have. So, we decided to try and test the coding that has been taught in class and change it to start the vibration motor. Many experiments were tested and we finally got control of the photocell and the vibration motor. However, the vibration motor broke on us. We have to get it again. Not only that, we found out from Serena that the wiring was very fragile and it may break easily again. So in order to solve it, we tape a layer around the edge of the wire and many layers around the placement go the vibration motor on the sole. During the day before, we occurred an error system but we came down together and rewired everything and changes were made on the code and it works successfully without fail.


Lastly, I felt that the only problem that still exists is to make it portable for the participant to wear it easily without letting them know there are wires everywhere. A suggestion was made to use a smaller Arduino Board to improve its technical parts in the future.


We were unable to go with our initial idea to create a hacked shoe that only starts to be disobedient and annoys the user when they have left the house for quite some time as we were unable to make the object portable without it looking dubious. Hence, we decided to go for the immediate reaction idea, whereby the object would be placed at a certain area, without it needing to be moved or portable. However, the wires would still make the user suspicious and be aware that something would happen, hence we decided to place the shoe next to a shoebox to hide all the items within it, and specifically chose a Converse shoe as there were two holes at the side of the shoes, which allows the wires to come out of the shoes without looking overly obvious.


Our disobedient object required lots of wires, with a sensor and actuator to be hidden within the shoe, which was quite challenging to fit inside the shoe nicely without causing uncomfortability and suspicion. However, we managed to secure the wires nicely along the sides of the shoes and made use of the empty spaces created by curves and grooves of our feet; placing the photocell underneath the flap of the shoe, wires at the sides of the shoes where our feet curved in, and the coin vibrating motor directly underneath the arch of our feet.


We also faced quite a number of technical problems, such as getting the coding to work and as well as connecting the coin vibrating motor. The vibrating motor required code which is different from what we have learned and many tutorials online had different codes and used various different items along with it to get it to work. We took quite a while to figure out how to make it work without all the various items used in the tutorials, and it was difficult to know if the object is not working due to an error in our coding, or the wiring, or was it just because the vibrating motor was not connected properly as the wires of the vibrating motor was extremely thin and fragile. However, we managed to overcome the problems of the wires thanks to Serena and Wenlei, and as well as practically fusing the motor with the insole of the shoe using tapes.



Done by, Sherry & Feriga.

Author: Feriga


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