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Barefoot in the dirty city streets

Skipping through the fields of broken glass and dog poo
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Yes I know that there are people who really do go barefoot in the city. But for those who prefer to have something they own between their soles and the street, or for use in hotter countries where there are parasites etc, I propose autonomous soles.

Two platforms, each slightly larger than one's foot, are mounted on the underside with electric motors and wheels or catterpillar tracks. The user wears a discrete ring on the big toe and little toe of each foot. Sensors in the soles detect the position, height, and velocity of each ring, and manœuvre the platform to be exactly beneath the foot when the foot makes contact with the ground. At this point the wheels retract, giving the sole a solid grip on the surface.

This allows the user to walk or run over any surface without fear.

For extra cost, various upgrades are available:

Surface Sense: the sole is fitted with a mesh of penguin pins which engage with the ground when the wheels retract; their upper ends reproducing the contour and texture of the surface for enhanced tactile feedback.

Spring Action: a spring-loaded lever allows the sole to leap through the air, jumping potholes or climbing stairs.

pocmloc, Jul 07 2010

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       this is sufficiently weird enough +
dentworth, Jul 07 2010
  

       //for enhanced tactile feedback//   

       So, you have a matrix of pins emulating broken glass and dog poo?
pertinax, Jul 07 2010
  

       That is an optional extra, [p]
pocmloc, Jul 07 2010
  

       This is such a genius idea - shoes that you don't wear, but which scurry along ensuring that they place themselves beneath your feet - like automatic stepping-stones. Beautiful idea. Brilliant. Love it! [+]   

       I think there might be challenges around going up stairs and jumping across gaps.
zen_tom, Jul 08 2010
  

       This would be a great idea if it wasn't completely impossible
hippo, Jul 08 2010
  

       I worry about the amount of torque the motors will be able to produce whilst going up hill or running. Nice concept though! [+]
vincevincevince, Jul 08 2010
  

       So when the batteries run down when I'm traversing a sea of broken glass and dog poo, what do I do?
RayfordSteele, Jul 08 2010
  

       Curse yourself for not charging them for longer? I was wondering (based on the refrigerated shoes idea) whether the foot action could charge the batteries. Also there could be solar cells in the top surface - they would harvest sunlight whilst your foot was raised. As a last resort, on-board enzymes could digest the poo and use that for power? Perhaps a retractable strap might be a more practical solution to your problem in the end.
pocmloc, Jul 08 2010
  

       Use optical sensors instead of complicated attachments to the feet for a less unwieldy experience.
aguydude, Aug 12 2010
  

       This would be a cool special effect for a movie, because the little robots could be digitally added beneath the running feet.
bungston, Aug 12 2010
  
      
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