Company creates 'world's fastest shoes' after creator was nearly hit by a car
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Featured Image Credit: @shiftrobotics/Instagram
Everyone knows the pain of getting stuck behind a slow walker, but now a tech company might have created a gadget which will let you overtake everyone.
Shift Robotics, an American robotics and engineering company, unveiled its battery-powered 'Moonwalkers', which help people ‘walk at the speed of a run’. The ‘fast, safe and nimble’ enhanced mobility device help increase walking speed, with a reported top speed of 7mph.
The story of how the shoes came to be is mind-blowing in itself. It all started when Xunjie Zhang, founder and CEO of Shift Robotics, was scootering to work five years ago when he almost got hit by a car.
He thankfully survived to tell the tale and and asked himself why he never walked the mile-long journey to work. He then created what is reportedly the world’s fastest shoe, which isn't a bad outcome at all. Zhang made it his mission to ‘enhance walking instead of replacing it’.
He eventually teamed up with a group of ‘really talented roboticists, race car engineers and sneaker designers’ after graduating from the Carnegie Mellon's Robotic Institute to help make his concept of packing ‘everything you find in a Tesla’ into shoes.
Zhang explained there’s no need to ‘balance’ with the shoes, and all you have to do in order to walk faster is simply a case of walking faster to accelerate and walking slower to decelerate.
Owners of the shoe can climb stairs with ease by lifting their heel to activate the ‘lock mode’ to avoid zooming up a staircase, which would surely be rather embarrassing.
Moonwalkers are powered by artificial intelligence which will help busy workers and impatient commuters have a 250 percent increase in their walking speed. Travelling through the Tube network will be a doddle. Their average range is 6.5 miles and you can juice them via a USB-c charger.
In a promotional video, the company said: “Moonwalkers start in lock mode, where our electronic brake fully locks the wheels.
"To enter shift mode, where you walk at the speed of a run, lift your right heel in the air and rotate it clockwise towards your left leg while keeping your toe on the ground.
"To go back into lock mode, lift your right heel in the air and then back down to the earth as usual. Now you are ready for stairs, buses, trains, or anywhere else where you do not want to walk at the speed of a run."
Sounds fairly easy.
Reddit users had a mixed response to the Moonwalkers, with some people dubbing them ‘rollerblades’ – which the company has clarified they are definitely not, meanwhile others said the shoes could help people with mobility issues.
“That’s just rollerblading with extra steps,” one unimpressed Reddit account retorted after watching a promotional clip.
“I disagree,” another person replied. “Elderly people, people with balance issues and other mobility issues would really benefit from these. I think it’s genius.”
“Heelys are like $60,” someone else quipped. However, an intrigued Reddit user wrote: “For all the shorties who can't keep up with their tall partners gait speed."
Moonwalkers are expected to be priced at $1,399 (£1,213) when they go on sale in April 2023.
However, American customers can get the shoes for a lower price by pledging to Shift Robotics’ Kickstarter.
By pledging at lease $1,099 you can be part of the ‘Super Early Adopter Special’ which grants customers a 21 percent discount but it is limited to 150 pairs.
One thing's for sure - walking the dog will be a lot more fun.
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