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Shoe insoles that randomly change shape to simulate walking on pebbles

Image credit: Iron mountain hot springs

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 31, 2021
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Shoe insoles that randomly change shape to simulate walking on pebbles. Improve posture and muscle tone in foot muscles.
  • Improve postural stability in the elderly.
  • Improve foot muscles.
  • Make walking more fun (sometimes).
How it works
Silicone insoles with built-in tiny electric motors. The motors operate at low speeds but with high torque.
In the image below, yellow represents electric motors, screw-shafts are red, pebbles are blue.
The motors move a pebble up and down a screw/shaft.
Thin lithium-ion batteries are also built into the insole:
The batteries are inductively charged by placint the shoes on top of the charger.
The insole is configured/activated via bluetooth from an app on the phone.

[1]Annino G, Palazzo F, Alwardat MS, Manzi V, Lebone P, Tancredi V, Sinibaldi Salimei P, Caronti A, Panzarino M, Padua E. Effects of long-term stimulation of textured insoles on postural control in health elderly. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 Apr;58(4):377-384. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06705-0. Epub 2016 Sep 15. PMID: 27627989.

Creative contributions

A simplified/improved version

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 31, 2021
The miniature electric motors themselves could be used in place of pebbles. The shafts can pass through the motors. There is no need for an additional pebble. The motors then move up and down the shafts.
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Use of non-Newtonian fluids in insoles

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Jan 07, 2022
An insole with a hard bottom and a system of interconnected channels and nodes that allow a non-newtonian fluid to flow through them on the top.
How it works
A non-newtonian fluid changes consistency depending on the pressure exerted. ( Non-Newtonian fluid ). This change in consistency can be minor just getting thicker, or major, turning solid. It is this secondary change that we desire. A typical adult weighs around 70 to 90 kilograms which gives us a force of roughly 800 newtons to work with concentrated at the soles of the feet, That kind of force could easily compress most non-Newtonian fluids into their solid form easily.
When you raise your foot to walk, the fluid in the insoles moves around changing it's volumetric concentration at differrent areas of the sole. Once you set foot down the fluid turns solid and the nodes with the most concentration are raised up applying pressure at random points on the soles of the feet. Each time you lift your foot the fluid moves around and fills different nodes thereby applying uneven pressure at differrent points every single time.
  1. It's just an insole ,thus easier to produce and sell at cheaper prices making it affordable to everyone who needs it
  2. You don't have to buy a new shoe, you can just fix it to shoes you already own.
  3. Is a safer alternative to a mechanized shoe.
  4. Sustainable. Does not require an external energy source.
  5. Could really help alleviate the discomfort at the feet that the elderly feel since it's really easy for them to use.
  6. Shoes can retain their lightweight functionality.
  7. Can be usen on sports shoes as the fluid doesn't change the flexibility values of the shoe.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Wouldn't the weight of the person just gradually flatten and even out the fluid with each step? I can't see how lumps could form in the fluid. We need lumps:)
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General comments

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
This is a great idea. I've got a feeling that if implemented, the number of people suffering from back agony would drastically decrease. Also, the insoles should serve as massagers when you're sitting. You'd need to make sure the shoes are 100% waterproof to protect the motors.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 years ago
Too good and very benefitting therapeutically. Here are a few reasons why it is so. It improves balance as you shift your body weight to minimize pressure on points where the pebbles hit. It also helps regulate blood pressure. It boosts the immune system and longevity. I also like the "random placement of pebbles" function. Since you don't know where the next pebble will be, it heightens your other senses and has a beneficial fear component.
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