Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Hover shoes

Walk on air
  [vote for,

Each shoe is fitted with an airtight flexible skirt similiar to that on a hovercraft. Flexible hoses down each leg supply them with compressed air from a backpack power unit, which also contains a gyro stabilizer to help the wearer balance upright.

You would be able to skate freely over reasonably level, smooth ground. Maneuvering is by balancing on one foot, aided by the gyro, and using the other foot as a reaction jet. Beware of gratings over storm drains, for the sudden stop may cause you to twist your ankle or worse.

neelandan, Jan 20 2003

appliance moving air sled http://www.carpettool.net/280_cmyk.jpg
riding on the skids is a riot. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Stability http://www.e4engine...?nid=xvkmc&id=47598
Human segway? [egbert, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

similar but less hovercraft more skateslike Air_20powered_20skates
Seems I missed this one by a few months. Anyway not exactly the same. [pashute, Jul 13 2006]


       They should do well on calm water also.
FarmerJohn, Jan 20 2003

       Standing on one leg, using the other jet for propulsion would swing you in a lazy circle so you'd have to lean to offset this or change legs like a slow motion speed-skater
oneoffdave, Jan 20 2003

       Brilliant during icy spells too! No more falling on arse or slithering down street in inelegant manner. Glide gracefully with Hovershoes!!
squeak, Jan 20 2003

       I suspect you may have some surface area-weight ratio problems that will make the shoes quite big and unwieldy, and cause the wearer to develop strong groin muscles. Consider, for example, the 'hover board', this is a lot larger than an actual skateboard. These objections aside I like the spirit of the idea so have some pastry.   

       Adding a couple of shoulder mounted fans for forward drive force may be necessary, as to my knowledge the plan would be to minimise friction with the ground, and a skating motion as you describe rather relies on this (on your pushing foot)
Zircon, Jan 20 2003

       I can picture the newbie hover shoe users, right along side the newbie roller bladers. Both careening down the sidewalk, flailing as they go.
rbl, Jan 20 2003

       One should be able to reverse the airflow in one of the hoses so one could do some cleaning at home with a hoover shoe.
FarmerJohn, Jan 20 2003

       Or indeed cause some kind of crazy hand-brake turn!?
Jinbish, Jan 20 2003

       I picture the hovershoe wearer tilting one foot up at the heal a bit for propulsion. Sort of a hovershoe moonwalk. raise the toe to brake.   

       Very cool, but I doubt Id have the balance required to master it.
IronJeff, Jan 20 2003

       These could work, if, instead of a hovercraft skirt you used a rubber bladder full of pinholes beneath a thin metal plate, like an air sled. [link]   

       I'm a little unconvinced about the gyro stabilization part. What would the gyro control that would improve the stability of the rider, er, walker?
bristolz, Jan 22 2003

       Stability - see link. Could be a bit OTT.
egbert, Jan 22 2003

       [FarmerJohn] The principle of buoyancy will make this unsuitable over water. "Hoover Shoe" has a nice ring to it, and deserves to be a separate idea.   

       Stability: you are supported on a frictionless point (well, two if you put both feet down) and this position is unstable. The slightest lean in any direction and your feet go shooting off and you would emulate a pinwheel for half a revolution. Now, if only something will hold you upright . . .   

       And that is what that backpack gyro is there for. It is a heavy flywheel spinning on a vertical axis, or an array of smaller ones, for safety, and it resists any efforts to tip it over (think of a spinning top). Since you are securely strapped to it you would not fall over if you lean, but precess. The axis of that gyro will sweep out a cone in space. Well worth watching, I tell ya.   

       So, there you will be, backpack whining, feet roaring, head describing a circle in space, getting hover-sick, and madly scrabbling for a handhold somewhere as you ricochet off into busy traffic after bumping into an unseen obstacle. Good luck, you'll need lots of it.
neelandan, Jan 23 2003


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