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Classify This Robot-Woven Sneaker with 3D-Printed Soles as 'Footware'

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A customized shoe created by a Futurecraft.Strung manufacturing robot.

Adidas has married three-dimensional printing with robotic automation in a mass-market footwear project its calling Futurecraft.Strung.

Credit: Adidas

Adidas is merging three-dimensional (3D) printing and robotic automation to produce mass-market footwear through its Futurecraft.Strung project.

The running shoe starts with a customized, 3D-printed sole. The upper section of the shoe, comprised of about 2,000 threads from up to 10 different sneaker yarns, is then created by a Futurecraft.Strung manufacturing robot.

Adidas based its design on high-resolution scans of the way runners' feet move. Motion capture of the athlete's foot and their feedback will be used to customize the design to the athlete's specific gait.

The robotics technology being used by Adidas is not new. However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Skylar Tibbits said, "It's more just like a really elegant way to build up material combining robotics and the fibers and yarns into these intricate and complex patterns."

The shoe is expected to be available in late this year or early next year.

From IEEE Spectrum
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