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Stride Extending Power Shoes

Walk further with power augmented shoes.
  [vote for,

Moving people about at speeds faster than walking is a problem that has been solved in many ways. There are trains, cars, aeroplanes, hydroplanes, ekranoplans, rocket sleds, regular sleds, Zeppelins, hovercraft, horses and no doubt many combinations and crossover transport types*. They all involve some walking however. You have to walk to the rocket sled, to the aeroplane. Even within a Zeppelin, passengers were made to walk to a special room for smoking**. Any improvement in the overall walking process would therefore pay off across the board.

So, the average stride length is around 30 inches. What if we could increase this? Stilts would work, but the extra tailoring is prohibitively expensive, besides, you'd look like plasterer. You can simply extend the legs further forward and back, by bending more at the hips, but this makes you look like a Monty Python sketch and isn't very dignified or efficient. You could have your legs broken and extended, but an extra inch here only gains a fraction of an inch in stride length.

Technology to the rescue. Shoes. Shoes have been passive for too long. So, active shoes with motor actuated moveable soles. The base of the shoe is a standard grippy coating. This is attached to several structural components with full width and say 10mm length. These should be laterally stiff. The effect should be like a rubberized tank track. This should slide fore and aft on a number of ball races with travel limits. The total travel should be a couple of inches more or less.

This can then be actuated by a small motor. For gearing and fail-safe reasons a worm-drive to rack system would be ideal here. To control this motor, a collection of control electronics will determine the fore-aft movement of the sole. Briefly, you will lift your foot up, the sole moves all the way forward. You place your foot on the floor and move it backward relative to your body. As this is happening, the motor will move the sole backward also. Now you have your regular stride, + 2 inches. As you take the next step*** you lift your foot bring it up and forward. While this is happening, the sole moves back to the forward position.

Fine tuning of the movement rates will be required, as monitored by accelerators and so on. But overall people are pretty adaptable to this sort of thing. If you replace the worm gear with a multi step regular gear train, you could get regenerative braking on downhill sections.

While 2 inches would only be a 6.66% improvement on normal walking speed, I have noticed people walk faster than normal on airport travelator things. I assume the faster progress encourages more effort.

The military will probably just go with full revolving tank tracks.

*The lack of rocket and hover horses is a shocking oversight. **Safety Nazis, literally. ***Alternative leg recommended.

bs0u0155, Nov 17 2017

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       So, sort of powered rollerskates but without that annoying ease of use?
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 17 2017

       There's an analogy somewhere in there regarding length of strides and paragraph breaks. This idea has nice paragraph breaks.
normzone, Nov 17 2017

       //So, sort of powered rollerskates but without that annoying ease of use?//   

       Sort of, but without the 5 inch height increase and poor stair performance.
bs0u0155, Nov 17 2017

       I think it would be easier just to set out a little earlier.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 17 2017

       The killer cybernetic intelligence's mechanised tools will now be able to out stride us as well. Well done.   

       Then again, all of humanity's best ideas are there to be used and adapted for our detriment.
wjt, Nov 18 2017

       //without...poor stair performance.//   

       I suspect that if you were walking down stairs and your shoes scooted you forwards a couple inches every step on every tread, stair performance would rapidly become an issue.
AusCan531, Nov 18 2017

       [AusCan] These must be for a world where health and safety is taken extremely seriously and human ancestry is not taken into account.
wjt, Nov 18 2017

       //stair performance //   

       Well, bear in mind that the tread is divided into 10mm independent lengths. Clearly, those lengths which found themselves over empty space would spring downwards to the depth of a typical riser so that they could continue to bear weight. A resounding "dwong" would be audible.   

       General practitioners and physios would soon become familiar with "tendon dwong", and the best ways of treating it. The service economy would be stimulated. Keynesian rejoicing ensues
pertinax, Nov 18 2017

       I just finished a long, long walk on the beach, and I thought of these shoes while I was working to keep up with my wife (+)
normzone, Nov 18 2017


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