Russian gasoline-powered boots are a step forward in footwear

Jul 05, 2000 02:00 AM

His fashion sense isn't as elegant as Gucci's, but Roman Kunikov says his gasoline-powered boots are a step forward in footwear - as much as 13 feet per stride.Kunikov is one of the professors at Ufa Aviation Technical University, a Russian engineering institute, who designed the boots that were tested in a public square in Ufa, 750 miles south-east of Moscow. The test showed that wearers can achieve speeds of up to 25 mph, Kunikov said.
The boots incorporate one-foot pistons that strap along the calf and fire downward after the wearer steps down, pushing a metal plate away from the bottom of the shoe - and the wearer up into the air.
The shoe works in a rhythm with the wearer's step. As he steps down, his body weight resets the piston, which then fires and pushes him on his way. The plate is connected to the sole of the shoe by metal rods that work as shock absorbers. The shoes use ordinary gasoline, Kunikov said. "A person can move with significant jumps or strides," said Kunikov.

The university formerly worked on defence contracts, but when defence budgets shrivelled, Ufa university went searching for a niche in the capitalist economy. The shoes weigh about two pounds each, including a fuel tank, tiny carburettor, spark plug and wires and pipes. Kunikov said there have not been any accidents so far. He also said he would continue to refine his product. "We aren't standing in one place," he said.

Source: AP
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