An American jet engineer invented Moonwalkers that let you stroll around at speeds of up to 7mph.
By Guy Birchall, news reporter
Friday 28 October 2022 11:51, UK
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A robotics company claims to have made the world’s “fastest shoes” which can make you walk three times faster.
Known as Moonwalkers, they look like futuristic roller skates but don’t require the wearer to balance any more than they would walking normally.
Once they are strapped to your feet, tiny electric motors power eight wheels which propel you forward at up to 7mph.
Made by Shift Robotics, the idea occurred to founder Xunjie Zhang five years ago after he was almost knocked off his scooter by a car and decided to walk to work instead.
But to “enhance” the journey he used his experience as a jet propulsion engineer to find ways to go faster.
Zhang and his team developed a motor controller, a precision gearbox and a battery pack that were all minimised to fit in the Moonwalkers.
But the real innovation is including artificial intelligence algorithms that analyse and adapt to a user’s gait, making the Moonwalkers an “extension of people’s legs”.
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The shoes can be charged fully in 90 minutes and have a range of 6.5 miles.
In a promotional video Shift Robotics says: “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.”
Moonwalkers are expected to cost $1,399 (£1,213) when they go on sale next year but are available cheaper on Shift’s Kickstarter page, which has so far raised over £99,000.
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