The Clinical Biomechanics Group at the University of Staffordshire has developed an innovative device to measure the bending and twisting stiffness of footwear while the shoe is being worn, a significant advantage over existing methods used in the footwear industry and the clinic.
Bending stiffness (the resistance to bending about an axis that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of footwear) and twisting stiffness (the resistance to bending about an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of footwear) are important properties determining footwear comfort, muscle function and gate. Often stiffness is estimated subjectively by simply manually flexing the footwear, especially in clinical settings where the footwear is to be used in an intervention. Existing commercial devices cannot measure both bending and twisting stiffness.
The new device can measure the bending stiffness and the twisting stiffness in a laboratory or in a clinical environment, producing far more accurate data and a better understanding of the factors influencing important characteristics such as comfort, control of gait and support in real life.
Consultancy on data collection, interpretation and footwear design from leading experts in the field of Biomechanics is available.
- Optimisation of footwear design to give maximum comfort.
- Optimisation of footwear design to give maximum performance for applications such as skiing, climbing, running etc.
- Design of footwear for medical interventions, such as injury recovery, gait improvement, wound healing and prevention of ulcers.
- Interventions in a clinical environment. There is no equivalent device available for medical applications.
The Biomechanics Group offers the device for consultancy, to measure the stiffness of a customer’s prototype footwear designs and offer suggestions to improve performance or comfort.
The University would also be keen to talk to a partner to develop, utilise and market the new device. In its current state the device is completely manual. The next step in development will be automation with the addition of stepping motors, sensors and data collection. We seek funding to turn the prototype into a product that can either be used for footwear development or sold by a third party to footwear manufacturers.
The prototype device is know-how. Any collaboration or consultancy will be performed at the Staffordshire University by the Clinical Biomechanics Group. Should a partner be interested in further development leading to commercialisation, the IP will be transferred under a licence agreement.