Our National Science Foundation grant to further the study of walking and running

…and make OESH Shoes even more awesome (if that were even possible)

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What makes OESH unique is that everything we do is driven by medical and biomechanical research. Not just research that we know about; research that my colleagues and I DO. Yes, I know. That makes us the most awesome shoe company there is.

Currently we use high tech gait (walking and running) laboratories with force plates and 3-D motion cameras to measure all sorts of parameters relevant to injuries and performance. These million dollar laboratories have been essential to our discovering, for example, the link between traditional types of shoes and knee osteoarthritis and finding the footwear characteristics that reduce loads on the joints, improve foot and ankle stability, improve posture, and optimize efficiency.


Now imagine if we could extend our study of gait beyond a hospital or university laboratory. That is the idea behind a research grant my colleagues and I were just awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Basically, what we will do over the next several years is develop new technology to miniaturize that million-dollar gait laboratory into… shoes.

The technology is pretty neat in that it will rely upon specialized Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) rather than the typical GPS currently being used to estimate movement. Our developing and integrating this specialized (and patented) IMU technology into shoes will allow for truly accurate gait data over long periods of time, hence the title of the grant, “Gait Tracker Shoe for long term accurate measurement of walking and running.”

Using new mathematical algorithms developed by my colleagues John Lach, Ph.D., Brad Bennett, Ph.D., and Shawn Russell, Ph.D., the data from the IMU sensors will be able to accurately determine gait, running or walking, parameters. We’ll be able to determine not only the number of steps one takes and how large each step is, but detailed information on what activities someone performs, such as walking up or down stairs; walking up or down slopes, walking versus running, etc.

This will allow us to collect oodles upon oodles of data that we will constantly be comparing to the oodles of data that we are already collecting in the laboratory. More importantly, we’ll be analyzing all that data; something in which our research team is especially adept.

And just like all of our research, we will be using it to keep making the best shoes on Earth.

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