Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cat-claw boots

Claws stay retracted until you slip
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Where I live, lots of people get injured after slipping on icy sidewalks. Various crampon-like devices are available, but they're uncomfortable and damage floors. What we need is short spikes that stay retracted until an accelerometer detects the sudden change in velocity of a foot slipping on ice. Then piezoelectric actuators extend the "claws" and you stop slipping.
Ford, Feb 14 2008

Positraction Shoes Positraction_20Shoes
Essentially the same idea. [phoenix, Feb 14 2008]

[link]






       but hey ho - thats hb for you & I like the claws thing but there you go...
po, Feb 14 2008
  

       "Positraction shoes" proposed mechanical sensors to sense slipperiness, not actual slipping. I think an accelerometer would be less prone to damage from grit, etc.
Ford, Feb 14 2008
  

       go for it Ford. I've had several escorts of your variety...   

       mind you I consider phoe's law on anything sacrosanct
po, Feb 14 2008
  

       "As it is written, so let it be baked."   

       Linking is my niche. I can't recall ever having mfd'd an idea.
phoenix, Feb 15 2008
  

       This is a question, I think, not a suggestion for an improvement. Would you consider instead of accelerometers using sensors that would pick up the muscles in the feet and legs reflexively twitch and reacting to the slip? I don't think it'd be an improvement over the original idea, just kind of interesting, a bit more like cat claws.
Noexit, Feb 15 2008
  

       The spikes could be actuated by bi-metallic strips. When the temperature of the sole drops below 3C the spikes extend for extra grip. When it warms up again, they retract. No sensors or power required.
8th of 7, Feb 15 2008
  
      
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