Testing & Timeline
Two types of bench tests are being developed. One type will test the individual, specially designed tuned spring elements, while the other will test the fully assembled shoes.
The latter will provide for the application of different combinations of loads to magnitudes reported in the biomechanics literature, i.e. over two times the body weight laterally and four times the body weight vertically.
These loads can be applied in different proportions vertically fore and aft, i.e., ball and heel of the foot, and laterally and medially to the fore foot and heel to simulate all kinds of loading conditions, while measuring the displacements to determine the responses in any combination: laterally, medially, fore and aft, vertically and rotationally.
Two kinds of on-foot measurements are anticipated: Measurements of ground reaction forces will be done for several maneuvers on a force plate at WPI. An in-shoe load measurement system will be built or purchased for live testing.
Sports Engineering Lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The manufacturing facilities at WPI in Worcester, MA are geared for prototyping and include: 11 CNC machine tools, 3D printing machines for polymers, and a laser cutter for thin materials and computers with CAM software. The computing facilities include computer labs and conceptual design software, as well as CAD software. There are also extensive library facilities.
The prototype we are currently working on will be entirely manufactured by us with the exception of the shoe upper section (specifically the part of the shoe that is above the foot). As we progress through the prototypes, we learn new ways to assemble parts of the shoe and make improvements on the components we are using. We are using less and less material from deconstructed shoes and are making more parts from 3-D printing, polymer casting, and injection molding.
One team is working on the layers that make up the shoe which involve much of the 3-D printing we are doing. In the improved design, an elastic thread will secure the split layers of the shoe while allowing the shoe to move when needed. The skirt will also be included as a protective feature to keep out dirt and water. Another team is working on the functional components inside the shoe such as the spring. This team is doing much of the injection molding for the project. Both teams are working at the same time and our goal is to complete the advanced prototype by the end of December.
Our goal is to finish the 8-10 pair production and testing by the end of February.
The small trial run will be tested in simulated play situations with in-shoe force measurements. They will then be stripped down, examined and evaluated for ways to improve the design before a larger trial production run that should be accomplished in March 2019.
During February and March we intend to consult with independent orthopedic medical center doctors. This will enable us to hear feedback as we test internally at WPI. We will also rely on skilled professionals who have designed and developed athletic wear for large companies.
The company plans to test the finished product with a third party. This could be a medical center with expertise in orthopedics.
Dec. 2018 – Advanced prototype assembled – full working shoe assembled
Jan. 2019 – Working prototype tested on human
Feb. 2019 – Small production run (8-10 pairs) produced for testing on field and court
March 2019 – Small run improved – testing on larger population
Apr. 2019 -Testing will occur at 3rd party orthopedics center, an advanced testing center, or both.
May 2019 -Testing will occur at 3rd party orthopedics center, an advanced testing center, or both.
June 2019 -Testing will occur at 3rd party orthopedics center, an advanced testing center, or both.