Moonwalkers, a startup from Carnegie Mellon University (USA), a subsidiary of Shift Robotics, claims to be the leader in creating a new type of shoe. These are not roller skates, as it may seem, but a “smart attachment” for ordinary shoes, with a motor and an intelligent control system. By analogy with vintage galoshes, Moonwalkers add a fundamentally new function to shoes – they intuitively accelerate the movement of the user while walking.
Moonwalkers don’t roll like roller skates, they just speed up the movement of the foot, giving it extra momentum. This is similar to walking on a moving sidewalk or sliding on ice, but with the difference that the system tracks the person’s gait and adapts to it. The use of a set of sensors and machine learning algorithms eliminates the uncontrolled movement of the device, skidding and falling of the carrier.
Moonwalkers are articulated, with a flexible toe and heel connection, so they can be worn over rough terrain, stairs, kneeling, etc. The maximum acceleration is 11 km/h and the braking distance is less than 1 meter. They can even be hard-blocked with a single gesture, and Moonwalkers will turn into stationary objects for walking in normal mode.
The cruising range on a single charge is very modest – no more than 10 km, and it varies greatly from the terrain. The Moonwalkers will be priced at $1,399 per pair when they hit retail. You can get more details on their Kickstarter Page.