Sneaker hack puts a wah in your step

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The latest Chuck Hack turns a pair of Converse All Star sneakers into a rocking wah effect for electric guitar

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Three years ago, Converse celebrated the launch of its new Google+ page with a challenge to hack its iconic All Star sneakers. Among the many weird and wonderful entries was a pair from design agency Critical Mass called the Chet Atkins All Wah. Like the Ghost Pedal from students at Purdue, the hacked sneakers could be used to add a wah effect to a plugged in guitar. Now the design has been updated for the wireless age courtesy of wearable tech fashion outfit Cute Circuit and called simply the All Wah.

In the 2013 Critical Mass prototype, a sensor strip was placed in the sole of the right boot to serve as a wah potentiometer so that when the wearer flexed the Chuck, the movement was translated into a wah effect. The player plugged the guitar into one side of the sneaker and ran a cable to an amp on the other side and then launched into a fuzzed-up cover of Voodoo Child (Slight Return), or whatever wah-drenched tune took their fancy.

Instead of a flex sensor, the Cute Circuit team made use of micro-sensing technology to turn foot movement into a wah effect. Users push down for treble and pull up to add more bottom end to the sound.

There are two ways to use the All Wah sneakers. A player can plug a guitar in one side of the shoe and run an output cable from the jack on the other side to an amp or effects chain via something called the wah box. This control box houses the analog wah circuitry, a rechargeable battery and in/out jacks.

The All Wah sneaker also rocks Bluetooth LE, so the player can cable up the guitar and amp/effects chain to the control box and walk around firing wah sounds as they go. There's a built-in 3.7 V battery in the right sneaker, too, which can be recharged wirelessly by placing it atop the wah box. iPhone or Mac connection is also reported possible.

Cute Circuit has told us that the sneakers shown above are part of a trial run that are currently being tested by musicians around the world. The final production feature set is still being worked out, but the ability to switch the wah circuit into bypass mode is one of the most requested features.

Hard specs are not available at the moment, but we're assured that gear heads can look forward to full disclosure in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can see the Converse All Wah being given a workout by J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr in the video below.

Source: Cute Circuit

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