Monday, December 18, 2017

Bionic Boots Prove The Potential in Amateur Manufacturing

Keahi Seymour shows off his years-long creation at the Worlds Fair Nano (via Inverse)
For lessons in the patience required of entrepreneurship, look no further than Keahi Seymour. All the way back in 2014 at the Maker Faire, Seymour was showing off his bionic boots prototype to interested spectators and potential investors alike. At the recent Worlds Fair Nano in New York City, Seymour was still at it, giving demonstrations to curious onlookers and interviews to assigned press. From a shortsighted perspective, Seymour's invention, boots that mirror an ostrich's muscle structure to achieve speeds up to 25 mph, can be seen as a market burnout. While able to be purchased on Amazon, the product does not seem to have picked up speed from any major capital investment since Seymour's demonstration in 2014. If he has any major buyers looking to assist his goal of three price-tiers for different customers, Seymour hasn't been forthright about it.

In the bigger picture, however, it would be wiser to view the gigantic potential in Seymour's design. The current prototype, the X17, is made out of a variety of carbon composite materials: materials that become cheaper over the years as more efficient methods are developed in making them.  Not to mention, as more and more urban areas realign their transportation landscapes to compensate for overpopulation and an automated future, the less a vehicle takes up shared space on the road, the better. The X-17 not only has the advantage of shifting from roads to sidewalks, but the user doesn't need to look for a parking spot, or even find a place to lock it up. They can store these boots in the office.

Of course, any potential product needing expensive materials such as titanium and carbon fiber will be a pretty penny to bring to mass retail. Seymour has claimed in an interview with Inverse, though, that he sees lower price grade versions of his bionic boots being made with cheaper materials. He has also said in the past the same power can be replicated using traditional parts such as springs and actuators. These are not above the realm of an average American manufacturer, and Seymour is convinced this X-17 is ready for just that. If his boots are, indeed, introduced into the consumer transportation and leisure market, it may be one of many oncoming trends of crowd-sourced robotics coming to fruition.

You can track updates from Seymour about his bionic boots here at his website.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

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