Robotics engineers have invented what they claim to be the “world’s fastest shoes,” capable of boosting a wearer’s walking speed by up to 250 per cent.
Shift Robotics, a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, developed the strap-on Moonwalkers footwear in an effort to revolutionise the way people walk.
The shoes use a 300-watt electric motor connected to eight rollerblade wheels, which delivers a top speed of 11kph (7mph) and a range of 10km.
Artificial intelligence also assists with the drivetrain to adapt to different walking gaits and make walking appear natural, according to Moonwalkers’ creators.
Shift Robotics founder Xunjie Zhang said the Moonwalkers packed “everything that you find in a Tesla” into a pair of shoes.
The shoes are also designed to be easy to wear and operate, with intuitive commands inbuilt in order to turn off the motor in order to climb stairs or walk normally.
“There’s no need to balance, just walk faster to accelerate, and walk slower to decelerate,” said Mr Zhang.
“We believe in a future where everything can be within walking distance. Our first step is to help people walk effortlessly at a run speed.”
The team at Shift Robotics launched a crowdfunding campaign to help bring them to market, raising more than $50,000 of a $90,000 target at the time of writing.”
The Moonwalkers are not the only pair of specially adapted shoes designed to increase walking speed that are currently under development, with engineers at Stanford University recently unveiling an exoskeleton boot for this purpose.
The peer-reviewed technology only increases speed by a comparatively modest 10 per cent, though it may have applications for assisting the recovery of people suffering from leg or spine injuries.