The opening ceremonies are just weeks away and all eyes are on London's Olympic architecture, the Games' most hopeful medalists, and the high-tech equipment that might just give them the fractions of seconds they'll need to win. But French engineer and designer Luc Fusaro, who helped design the podiums to be used in London, has his eyes on the next summer Games, in Rio 2016.
Fusaro's final master degree solo project at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London was to prototype a printed sprinting shoe for elite runners. The idea behind the "Designed to Win" shoe is that if a shoe can be produced to fit perfectly on a runner's foot and made with minimal weight, it can help optimize the athlete's performance.
"Tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve its performance by up to 3.5 percent," boasts Fusaro's video (below). In terms of speed, that 3.5 percent improvement can translate to shaving off .35 seconds off a runner's time. Recent Olympic trails show that in 100-meter races, that amount of time can divide winners from losers.
The prototype shoe weighs just 3.4 ounces.
Here's a BBC news segment about the project:
Image: Luc Fusaro