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Thoughts and insights on the business of technology transfer
Posted on 06 March 2013 in General
A new lightweight, shock-absorbing training shoe has been released by military technology firm Skydex Technologies, aimed at both the military and commercial markets.
Skydex – one of the leaders in the development of new technologies that minimise and absorb shock, vibration and energy forces – has in the past focused on the manufacture of blast-absorbing floor decking in personnel carriers known as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs).
The company’s patented shock-absorption technology absorbs the energy from Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts that would otherwise do major damage to troops’ limbs. Now, the company – which focuses on military contracts for 90 per cent of its business and commercial markets for 10 per cent – has released its brand new footwear, called the Battle Trainer Athletic Shoe.
The desert camouflage shoe features the twin-hemisphere shock-absorption technology, the same technology that has been put to use throughout the Afghanistan combat situations. The shoe also boasts reinforced toe-bumper protection and a rubber outersole.
Peter Foley, SKYDEX’s chief technology officer, said: “With the Battle Trainer we incorporate our combat-proven technology in the shoe heel to reduce heel-strike shock and protect the legs, hips and back from impact.”
Mr Foley also confirmed that the shoe was suitable for use by civilians as well as troops, saying: “It’s the first true boot camp shoe that an average consumer can use in a boot camp-style workout. It’s designed to withstand military-style workouts in extreme conditions, including extreme hot and cold.
“And it’s great for everyday athletic use: for mid-distance running on trails or dirt, and in the gym for weights and cardio,” Mr Foley added.
Skydex’s trademark twin-hemisphere padding was first created in the 1970s for sportswear but was snapped up for military use almost immediately. The firm went on to licence its air cushion system to sportswear giant Nike, from which Nike developed its well-known Nike Air Technology.
Skydex plans to shift its focus onto commercial applications over the coming months, and by the middle of 2014 sees itself as having an equal split between military and consumer usage of its products and innovations. This highlights the growing relationship between military innovations and the consumer marketplace.
Vic Ahmed, CEO and founder of Innovation Pavilion, a Colorado-based hub for technology innovation, said that he believed many innovations that had been developed for military usage could have other uses, and that it was key to capitalise on those possibilities.
“I think it is pretty incredible how much technology has developed for military purposes. When those projects are over, they just sit on the shelves and are not used. I think that is a wasted national asset,” Mr Ahmed told the Denver Post.