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Student Creates World's Fastest Shoe With a Printer 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-print-it-they-will-run dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Engineer and designer Luc Fusaro from the Royal College of Art in London has developed a prototype running shoe that can be uniquely sculpted to any athlete's foot. It's as light as a feather too, weighing in at 96 grams. The prototype is aptly named, Designed to Win, and is 3D printed out of nylon polyamide powder, which is a very strong and lightweight material. The manufacturing process uses selective laser sintering (SLS), which fuses powdered materials with a CO2 laser to create an object. This process means 3D scans can be taken of the runner's foot so as to ensure the shoe matches the shape perfectly. Fusaro can also change the stiffness of the soles according to the athlete's physical abilities. The shoe can improve performance by 3.5%, meaning a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds, which is a huge time saving relatively speaking. Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shoes on."
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Student Creates World's Fastest Shoe With a Printer

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  • I'd say... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Usain Bolt could put on quite a shoe with those running shows.
  • nylon fumes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gnaythan1 (214245) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:24PM (#40596599)

    I wouldn't want to print this at home though... needs a specialty place... with a fume hood.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:42PM (#40596779)

      ...which is why you print the fume hood out first, then start printing nylon shoes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      with a fume hood.

      It can't actually be that bad, not if there's any temperature control for heating the nylon. Burnt plastic gives off toxic fumes, warm/melted plastic is much less hazardous.

      Regardless, I'd still run it in a big and reasonably well ventilated room or garage. ...Despite not being directly toxic, workplace microwaves absolutely need fume hoods (or food stench restrictions). some day, I'll snap. you'll see. they can't move my desk again. I used to have a window near my cubicle, and I could see the squirrels, an

      • by hazah (807503)
        Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah.. I'm gonna go ahead and ... *grabs stapler* take that.
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:26PM (#40596613)

    Why would I want a shoe with a printer?

  • Phew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lucas123 (935744) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:28PM (#40596651) Homepage
    From the headline, I thought he'd invented a shoe that actually printed. My dream remains alive!
  • by Roberticus (1237374) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:30PM (#40596675)
    I recently bought a pair of those glove-like shoes (where each toe gets its own slot) that doesn't fit my feet very well. It got me to wondering if someone could use a 3D printer and some orthogonal pictures of my feet to make a better-fitting pair. The article suggests it's certainly possible, but doesn't give any sense of cost.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Did you try on multiple sizes or just go for the size you normally wear? I had to drop down a full size from normal for the barefoot shoes like that, personally. First pair I bought didn't fit so well, so I returned them and walked out with the right size, which fit great now. Or they just don't make those shoes to fit your feet well, which seems odd to me...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This, yeah, assuming he's talking about Vibram FiveFingers. You also want to buy a pair that fit perfectly but a hair too tight rather than a pair that fits too loose. They stretch. After three months the "too loose" pair will flop around on your foot like clown shoes. I'm on my second pair, and I love them.

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          There's lots of other brands too. I think mine are Fila Skele-toes, but AFAIR, mine don't have laces like the ones on their site do.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Ooh! Well they have 3D scanners, so I could see some software that could scan your foot in, then prints a perfectly-fitting toe-shoe for you! That would actually be pretty neat. I ran across an article a while back about printing "Fabric" with lots of tiny interlocking rings, sort of like chain mail. If you can do it inexpensively enough it wouldn't really matter how durable they are. Depending on how biodegradable they are, you could just print a new set every month or two and compost the old ones.
    • by trout007 (975317)

      I run in those and they are great. I was thinking about making an ultra light version by casting my feet in dental resin. Pouring a plaster of Paris positive. Then painting on some polyurethane.

    • Re:Designer shoes (Score:4, Informative)

      by funkboy (71672) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:31AM (#40600197) Homepage

      I recently bought a pair of those glove-like shoes (where each toe gets its own slot) that doesn't fit my feet very well.

      First of all, make sure you didn't get a knock-off [birthdayshoes.com]. The Vibram five finger shoes are cloned so much that they've been used as a case study for how counterfeiting (ehm, counterfeeting?) starts & how to prevent it.

      • by dj245 (732906)
        I recently bought a pair of those glove-like shoes (where each toe gets its own slot) that doesn't fit my feet very well.
        First of all, make sure you didn't get a knock-off [birthdayshoes.com]. The Vibram five finger shoes are cloned so much that they've been used as a case study for how counterfeiting (ehm, counterfeeting?) starts & how to prevent it.


        Well of course they are cloned to death. They have an Apple Iphone-like markup but are not nearly as complicated. Just because Vibram got the idea f
        • by Pope (17780)

          Just because Vibram got the idea first doesn't mean they can charge $100 for $5 worth of materials.

          Yes, yes it does. You really mustn't understand how markets work.

      • They were indeed the Vibram brand, not knock-offs. And happily, they weren't $100, either. I think I just have really long toes.
  • Citation needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:34PM (#40596701)

    3D printing is neat and all, and congrats on a new use for the tech. But can we please put these one some people and run them around before saying bullshit like "Apparently the shoe can improve performance by 3.5%"?

    • Re:Citation needed (Score:5, Informative)

      by reverseengineer (580922) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:55PM (#40596903)
      The article gets that wrong-- the 3.5% improvement is not something that's been specifically observed in this shoe. From the designer's site [lucfusaro.com], "Scientific investigations have shown that tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve performance by up to 3.5%...." Which is to say, some sort of study has been done to demonstrate that custom-made track spikes can deliver that kind of improvement, but no data exists for this shoe specifically. The release on that site even goes on to note,"Fusaro continues to fine-tune the shoe: The upper is still too stiff to offer optimum speed. More flexibility and comfort needs to be added to the shoe, using a combination of different material or additive manufacturing processes that can offer different flexibilities in the same product."
      • I also liked the blanket, across the board, 3.5% improvement number. Because athletes are all built the same, and a 4 (or 14) minute mile is the same as a 7 (or 70) second 100 meter dash.
        • It's not a blanket number and it refers only to sprint shoes.
          "Scientific investigations have shown that tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve performance by up to 3.5%...."

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        The correct shoes will definitely influence an athlete's performance.

        I really doubt though that this shoe will be able to do much to improve on Bolt's performance, as I do expect people like him to wear highly personalised shoes already, as every fraction of a second counts at that level.

    • Also, if the shoe improves performance by 3.5%, then wouldn't wearing a pair of them take that 100 meter 10 second time down to 9.3 seconds, instead of 9.65 seconds? /snark
      • Re:Citation needed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:31PM (#40597221)
        Depends on how you fluff the math, as always. What if I said a 3.5% performance increase, but applied it to acceleration AND max speed, and then recalculated? I don't really want to do that math but I expect it'd be as far different number than a 3.5% better time.

        People that abuse statistics are the dirtiest liars of all.
    • From one of TFA:

      Fusaro tested the shoe on several competitive sprinters in London and hopes to refine it for the 2016 Olympic Games

      It's not much of a citation but apparently he did SOME kind of testing, though it's not clear what kind of testing was performed

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        From one of TFA:

        Fusaro tested the shoe on several competitive sprinters in London and hopes to refine it for the 2016 Olympic Games

        It's not much of a citation but apparently he did SOME kind of testing, though it's not clear what kind of testing was performed

        Sure beats handing a pair to Dave Barry and watching him pull a hamstring out of the gate.

        I certainly think Fusaro is on to something -- watching footballers break their metatarsals with the junk shoes they are currently wearing should be giving some priority, too.

    • by GiMP (10923)

      I believe this can be true versus standard off-the-shelf running shoes. However, the advantage may not be that they're a radical new design than that they're bespoke. They just happen to be a very cost-effective bespoke shoe, rather than at the several-thousand-dollar-value mark that I imagine must be paid by Olympic athletes (or their sponsors).

    • But can we please put these one some people and run them around before saying bullshit like "Apparently the shoe can improve performance by 3.5%"?

      But... but... the designer says it's world's fastest shoe, you need more proof than that? [fastcodesign.com]

      " French-born engineer and designer Luc Fusaro... tested the shoe on several competitive sprinters... it can improve performance by as much as 3.5%"

      Gee, I mean, if that's what the press release says, then who am I to question it, right? Clearly that's been independently confirmed by top scientist and numerous studies have been done... oh wait, they haven't been? You mean, article on /. titled "Student Creates W

  • Lame article (Score:4, Informative)

    by tooyoung (853621) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:35PM (#40596715)
    The article is essentially just the summary. The article links to another article, which is essentially just the summary too, although it mentions that the shoe has been tested on some world class athletes. No mention of the testing methodology though, for such a bold claim.
    • It could at least specify what the 3.5 percent improvement is in comparison to. Otherwise it's pretty meaningless to make a "fastest shoe in the world" claim.
      • by iamhassi (659463)

        It could at least specify what the 3.5 percent improvement is in comparison to. Otherwise it's pretty meaningless to make a "fastest shoe in the world" claim.

        3.5% improvement!**

        **+-3% degree of error

    • Yeah 3.5% compared to what? What shoe was it compared against? Did he test it agaisnt runners who run barefoot? The Royal College of Art doesn't sound like a engineering school. (It could be, sometimes Art means sciences)
      • I also wonder how you control for improvement in speed from practice. The first time someone runs thier speed will be different from the the 10th time they run. There would need to be controls on time of day, and food. Plus a large sample size. A percentage is meaningless without details of the test. The guy could be from a survery he handed out to handfull of people he showed the shoes too. Question 1: How much faster did my shoe make you? A) 3.5% B) 10% C) 50%
  • Everyone knows it's supposed to be a shoe *phone*, not a shoe printer.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      One for the left, one for the right and you have fax receive capabilities. Right on your feet.

  • by v1 (525388) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:38PM (#40596739) Homepage Journal

    Does make one wonder where the line needs to be drawn for enhancing equipment in competition like this?

    I thought the original olympiads performed entirely naked? Even little things like swim caps can make quite a difference. Unless all the athletes have access to the same tech, it's not really fair?

    And even if they all get it, then all it means is everyone improves by the same amount, and nobody really gets anywhere (relatively) besides breaking a few more world records.

    • Re:ponderous (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:20PM (#40597113) Homepage

      For all practical purposes, the major contenders do get equal access to technology, because they all have the funding to buy from the same place. The underdogs compete with older equipment, and accept that the relative performance hit is part of what makes them underdogs. If their athletes still do well (better than the equipment's performance gap would explain), they're more likely to be well-funded in the next round.

      Even with the best equipment available, the main contest is still one of skill. The best running shoe in the world won't help you if you don't have the endurance to use it or the stride to keep an appropriate pace. As I recall, some equipment will actually reduce an athlete's performance if they aren't already highly trained, because the gear is specialized for a particular use pattern. Even without the aid of a particular swimsuit, Michael Phelps is still clearly a spectacular swimmer.

      In my opinion, the Olympic motto of "faster, higher, stronger" doesn't just apply to the athletes from the participating countries. It also applies to the human race as a whole, including our technology. There should be no limit to what technology's permitted as long as it meets three criteria:

      • The technology must not harm the athlete any more than the sport itself
      • The technology must not diminish the expression of the athlete's skill, nor replace any normally-functioning part of the athlete's body, except as required by the sport itself
      • If the technology cannot be transferred or adapted to a normal human body, it must not alter the characteristics of the athlete's body in any manner to improve their performance in the sport, except as required by the sport itself.

      By this definition, almost all current training methods would be allowed, almost all prohibited substances would still be banned, and those who have medically-necessary prostheses would still compete at normal levels, as long as their prostheses don't give them superhuman performance (like extra shock absorption in a runner's legs). Any technology that's a part of the sport is obviously still allowed, just in case cyborg telekinetic dodgeball ever becomes an Olympic sport.

      • > ...the Olympic motto of "faster, higher, stronger"...

        I thought the Olympic motto was "Winning is everything".

        BTW aren't we going to get sued for using the word Olympic without a license?

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Even with the best equipment available, the main contest is still one of skill.

        Skill in hiding doping, to be exact.

      • The new swimsuits Speedo came out with caused quite a problem because it did give National / international caliber swimmers faster swims. I think even, what now 10 years after they came out, there's still controversy.

        Access to equipment and technology has been debated for many years now in sports. My only quip about it, is it doesn't always work out. The exeception, I always think about is the Atlanta games. So many people were dropping out from heat exhaustion ... the Atlanta climate is special.

        If the Olym

        • by khallow (566160)

          If the Olympics are supports to be "faster, higher, stronger" (sounds more like an ad for drugs :) !!!! ) then the games should be in a neutral location for climate, altitude (alpine skiing obviously has to be done at altitude) and political reasons. Everyone should have access to same equipment and be under the same scope of drug testing.

          They are and do. It seems to me that you merely state the obvious here. It's also worth noting that Olympics aren't intended to be consistent over time.

    • Many sports have moved to using either officially issued equipment or regulations on various attributes. No wing suits in ski jumping, for example.

      http://www.olympic.org/ski-jumping-equipment-and-history?tab=equipment [olympic.org]

    • I think the line is basically drawn at performance enhancing chemicals and mechanical aids. I suppose this shoe could be considered a mechanical aid, but I rather think it's like a more the swim cap you mention. Besides, these types of judgements have to be kept at discretion; I know that when the Winter Olympics were in Salt Lake City, a lot of times were shattered due to the altitude, but other times were slower due to... the altitude. Was that an aid/detriment?
    • Spectator sports were bullshit 2000 years ago, and are bullshit today. Only morons care. Case completely closed as far as I'm concerned.

      Other than that, surely it must be nicer to run with a 96 gram shoe that fits perfectly, than with any old running shoe, so it's still a cool invention. (Just like soccer is a perfectly fine game, *until* people start piling into stadiums and waving flags ^^)

  • Screw Usain Bolt, make a fancy custom shoe for Oscar Pistorius!

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Monday July 09, 2012 @05:54PM (#40596877)
    >a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds

    If it can increase performance by 100%, he can run it in zero seconds.

    Math confuses Slashdot editors.
    • by slew (2918)

      >a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds
      If it can increase performance by 100%, he can run it in zero seconds.
      Math confuses Slashdot editors.

      In defense of the submitter and the /. editors, this exact same math mistake was made in the original article (and 0.338...s is still pretty close to 0.35 seconds since 1/(1+x) ~ 1-x as a first order series approx)...

      Of course the source website [lucfusaro.com] does not have this mistake, nor does it claim that this particular shoe has this specific level of improvement, only that vague "scientific investigations" have shown that tuning a shoe can improve performance as much as 3.5% and that he (luc fusaro) is still t

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gmhowell (26755)

        "scientific investigations" have shown that tuning a shoe can improve performance as much as 3.5% and that he (luc fusaro) is still tuning his shoe...

        Hmmm.... So tuning both shoes would result in a 7% increase in performance, right?

    • by Jay L (74152)

      On a similar note.. growing up I had a scooter that would do 22mph with one rider, and 5mph with two.

      I figure if I'd been able to fit seven people on it, I could go 80mph backwards.

  • ahem, I don't mean to be pedantic but you've got a semantic error in your summary.
    • I'm tempted to say that you've made the semantic error, and the one in the summary is just a spelling mistake. Unless you were going for the rhythm (pedantic/semantic), in which case I could let it slide.
  • Braaaaiiins (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#40597033)

    Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shows on.

    Have years of spell-check trained us all to type perfectly spelt, but completely incorrect words? Or did we always do this? I catch myself doing it all the time. I find it amazing that your brain can think up and type a completely unrelated word, but have enough sense to spell it correctly. And to read the sentence as you type it, somehow seeing the intended word. (I'm also nervously interesting in which words I inevitably screw up in this post.)

    [lol, yeah I saw that in preview, but left it in.]

    • Re:Braaaaiiins (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:26PM (#40597167) Homepage
      Don't attribute to a lazy brain that which is adequately explained by a fat finger.
    • I can't speak to whether we've always mis-written words.

      However, you see words as individual pictures, not as conglomerations of letters. You only learn to phonetically sound-out words as a coping strategy to deal with an unknown word.

      This is why reading to your kids is so very, very, very important. You have to establish both the habit of practicing, as well as the baseline of understood word pictures.

      For excample, you can tolererate lots of exctra lettters in worsds so loeng as the pictaure doesn't chan

  • "The shoe can improve performance by 3.5%, meaning a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds, which is a huge time saving relatively speaking. Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shows on."

    soooo... technically it could be a huger time savings if I put them on? ...or even huger-er if we put them on gimps.

  • Shaving 0.35 seconds can get you from 5th place to 1st. I've seen it happen. Snap time of the leg advancing is critical in the first 2 seconds. If this shoe can do it, and last the race. I think I'll get a 3D printer too!
  • They're called feet. Still can't figure out the sigma behind using them without the addition of all these rubber dongles. Guess that's just the way it has been done for a hundred years.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      The rubber dongles are so they don't get cut, and you don't get gangrene. I used to run around barefoot a lot in Hawaii when I was a boy (I'm not Obama!) and had my fair share of foot cuts from nails and broken glass. Not to mention those nasty sticker plants. They're nasty in Hawaii, and much much nastier in Colorado. Here in Colorado they like to ride in on your pant legs and stick you in the foot in the house. Thaaat really sucks.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Where I live (in Lake county, California) we have about three varieties of burrs, several minuscule stabby things, star thistle, and poison oak... on top of some of the rockiest soil this side of the rockies. I can't even go to the BBQ without shoes. I used to go about Santa Cruz barefoot all year, and then I only had to worry about having disgusting black-soled feet, and the occasional piece of glass, for the most part.

      • by PRMan (959735)

        I used to run around barefoot a lot in Hawaii when I was a boy (I'm not Obama!)

        Clearly not! Because you were born in Hawaii...I kid, I kid...

        • by Greyfox (87712)
          My going joke is that I was actually born in Kenya. I'm pretty sure if I ran for president, Donald Trump wouldn't question MY birth certificate. I almost wish I was in a position to be able to run, just to make him question it.
  • by JRHelgeson (576325) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:21PM (#40597121) Homepage Journal

    http://xkcd.com/1065/ [xkcd.com]

    Guaranteed Gold Medal at the Olympics?
    But it has those creepy 5 finger toes...
    Yeah, I'll have to think about that.

  • ... about improvements for top athletes and elitists. I want my own pair of *perfectly* moulded vibram five fingers! That is an idea I'd want to get behind :D

  • Let me just turn on this scanner here....

  • ...could create the world's fastest printer, with a shoe!
  • If he were able to solve important problems, I would be impressed, runnig faster? Not important when there are thousands of people starving to death.
  • If Justin Gatlin put a pair of these shoes on, a non-Jamaican would hold the world 100m record (If they never found out he was on drugs).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    scan it, print it, perfect fit inside, customizable (colors, textures, etc) outside.

    You read it here first ...

  • This one includes a video which shows the structure better and shows a guy wearing ones that have covering on them.

    http://www.euronews.com/2012/07/02/shoe-designed-to-win/ [euronews.com]

  • Sprinting shoes are basically just a slipper with a spike plate in the toe.

    A light road racing shoe can improve 5K, 10K and marathon times, though, compared to a heavy jogging shoe.

  • Next up:

    "Contributor creates world's stupidest headline with a keyboard"

  • I can see this being a huge win (no pin intended) for people like me who have bizarre feet!

    I run roughly 50 - 60km a week and always struggle to find a pair of shoes that cater for my wide retarded feet and pinky toes which stick out the wrong way. (sadly the latter is hereditary)

    Every year I do the 2000km change over of shoes and it's always a bloody headache buying new shoes.
  • What a peculiar example. I never thought of Usain Bolt as someone who was that bothered about what [news.com.au] he wore on his feet. The man ran an Olympic-record-destroying time with his left shoelace untied after all...
  • It has to be an even BIGGER bird.
  • 3.5% better than bare feet? Iron shackles? The next best running shoes that for top tier runners are probably custom made and tailored? I smell FUD.

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