Going from the shoe that ties itself, to that that can repair itself. Researchers at the University of Southern California / Viterbi School of Engineering have developed a new material that, via the usage of 3D printing, is able to repair a rubber sole that is broken or is deteriorating. According to what reported by USC’s own website, “this material could be revolutionary for segments such as footwear, tires, robotics, and even electronics, because it reduced production times and increases the longevity of the product”. This new product is based on the photo-polymerization process, which consists in the use of light to solidify a liquid resin. A square of 17.5 millimeters in size can be printed in just 5 seconds, and completing objects such as the bottom of a shoe only takes 20 minutes, with the possibility of repairing it in just a few hours. The study, published by NPG Asia Materials, was conducted by Prof. Qiming Wang, with the help of students Kunhao Yu, An Xin, e Haixu Du, along with assistance from Professor. Ying Li of University of Connecticut. The team is currently working to make this technology available to the mass.
Talking about technology, Russian brand Ralf Ringer, which sells 1.8 million pairs of shoes each year, has presented a new project that aims at installing an integrated GPS system inside the sole of the shoes, so that the position of the person wearing them can be tracked via phone application. The trial test was concluded, with positive results, in January and GPS shoes are already being pre-ordered, earlier than the company’s expected timeframe. Ralf Ringer has stated that this new application will be particularly important for children, elders, mountain enthusiasts and those that love walking.