3D-printed sneaker adjusting to your foot! - By : Substance,

3D-printed sneaker adjusting to your foot!

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab is a cross-disciplinary research lab  which gathers  designers, scientists and engineers that conduct research in order to create self-assembling technologies aimed at reimagining construction processes, manufacturing, assembling of products and performance.

The Lab has collaborated in the past with designers Christophe Guberan and Carlo Clopath for the Life on foot exhibition at the Design Museum of London, United Kingdom. And they decided to reunite again to create the Minimal Shoe project, directed by Skylar Tibbits.

Their process consists in stretching a textile – called “active” – and to print in 3D plastic lines of different shapes and  and layers that will define the shape of the shoe. Once released from pressure, the textile will then interlock with the 3D-printed plastic lines. The team of researchers use the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process, invented by Stratasys. It works on an “additive” principle by laying down material in layers; a plastic filament or metal wire is unwound from a coil and supplies material to produce a part.

Active shoes upper_printer Minimal shoe

Active shoes upper_cutting Minimal shoe

Active shoes upper_fold Minimal shoe

“[The project Minimal Shoe] is an active textile and it’s a work in progress,” Guberan says. “We can shrink the size of the shoe, have it contract around your feet. 3D printing [entire] shoes is quite long and inefficient, so we minimized the amount of 3D printing used. It’s quite interesting to say that we don’t have to 3D print the entire shoe, but we can add to existing material.”

Now imagine all the possibilities with these active textiles!

For more information about 3D and 4D-printing, you can check the following articles:

What about 4D printing?

4D Printing Programmable Materials?


Field(s) of expertise :

Additive Manufacturing 

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