February 11, 2000
Colloquium Speaker: Ronald Demon
Mr. Ronald Demon is a graduate of MIT where he majored in Computer Science. While in high school, at the age of 16, this computer programmer since age 6, developed an athletic shoe whose cushion support automatically adjusts to the needs and shape of the wearer's foot. Mr. Demon received assistance with his invention from engineering professors at Florida International University, while still in high school. Once at MIT, however, he was finally able to fine tune his project through the support of MIT professors and the use of the Institute's sophisticated computers. He recently secured a US patent for his invention and was named "Inventor of the Week" by the Lemelson-MIT Awards Program. His company, VectraSense Technologies, recently advanced to the semifinal round of the MIT $50K business competition. Mr. Demon's other inventions include Personalized Search Engine Technology and a Virtual Server. He has also engaged in research at the MIT Media Lab and has worked three summers at the Intel Corporation. The shoe is drawing considerable interest in a number of sectors with articles about the innovation appearing or scheduled to appear in the following media outlets: MIT Tech Talk, Popular Science Magazine, Runners World (Footwear Industry Magazine), PRISM Magazine (American Society of Engineering Education), Channel 5 (Boston), KISS 108 FM Radio (Boston), Jet Magazine (Black National Magazine), Beyond 2000 (Australian TV), and Time Magazine. Given the level of interest, a number of footwear manufacturers have already indicated an interest in licensing this product.
The "Smart Shoe" is a computerized adjustable shoe which automatically adapts to the wearer's needs. The shoe selectively measures and adjusts the pressure in a number of zones beneath the user's foot as the foot impacts the traveling surface. The harder the user is working, the softer the cushion. Adjustments are made by sensors, which regulate the flow, the fluid from strategically placed bladders to adjust the cushion. The shoe also actually learns from the user and gets progressively better over time.