RMIT University researchers and the giant Japanese Mizuno Corporation are using runners’ own emotions to develop the next-generation personalised running shoe. The project is a joint venture between RMIT University and Mizuno.
“Biomechanical requirements vary from athlete to athlete, so to make the best shoes for the individual we have to understand their mental state and translate it into product properties,” said Professor Aleksandar Subic, Project Leader and Head of School.
Professor Subic said they were using a user-centred design approach known as ‘Kansei engineering’, developed by a Japanese professor in the 1970s. In English it means affective engineering.
“Using Kansei engineering we identify the needs and emotions of runners and relate these to the technical attributes of a perfectly customised shoe,” he said.
The research, said Professor Subic, aimed to quantify and relate performance attributes such as shock absorption, stiffness and durability to the particular feel experienced by the runner.
“From this we can develop a technology platform for the design and manufacture of next-generation running shoes,” he said. “The digital design of the individual product will be available for immediate transfer to rapid additive manufacture of the personalised running shoe.”
Professor Subic said that as part of the project RMIT had undertaken a comprehensive series of tests and surveys involving 750 runners worldwide.