Jul 6, 2016 | By Tess

While we see our fair share of 3D printed shoe designs, how many of them can boast that they stand for world peace? How can a shoe promote world peace, you might ask? Well, that’s exactly what a team of students from the University of Buffalo in New York have set out to demonstrate with their recent 3D printed shoe project.

According to the team of students, which consists of graduate students from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), their 3D printed shoe was part of a larger effort to showcase how technology, art, and powerful messages can be combined to form a high quality and evocative product. As Dhruvay “DJ” Jain, the team leader and shoe designer, explained, “We, the students at the University of Buffalo have recently developed products that use 3D printing technology to showcase how art can be empowered using novel technologies and can impact our society.”

The most recognized product developed by the students was a modular 3D printed shoe, which incorporates the iconic imagery of a world map, a dove and olive branch, and the peace sign into its design. The shoe’s modular aspect comes from its ability to be worn as either a sandal or as a full shoe, as parts of it can be easily removed or reattached. The shoe itself has a built in slide-and-clamp mechanism to help the wearer secure the shoe on the foot in lieu of laces, or velcro.

The 3D printed Peace shoe does not only look cool, however, as it was designed for optimal comfort and manufactured using advanced PolyJet printing technologies. According to Jain, “What appears to be a simple shoe design actually involved extensive research and design challenges. We were motivated to add functionalities to the footwear and re-design the conventional, generic shoe designs.”

University of Buffalo student team

Part of this extensive research involved using data from smart in-soles to study and map out pressure points in the foot and weight distribution. From that, the students were able to develop customized contouring for the 3D printed shoe’s sole for optimal comfort and functionality. Additionally, thanks to the capabilities of PolyJet additive manufacturing, the shoe was 3D printed with varying degrees of flexibility and stiffness to best suit the wearer and his or her needs. Specifically, the inner sleeve of the shoe has been 3D printed out of a softer, more flexible material for comfort, while the outer sleeve has been printed out of a stiffer more durable material.

Excitingly, the project, which was guided by ISE faculty members Chi Zhou and Lora Cavuoto, and CSE faculty members Wenyao Xu and Feng Lin, recently took home top prize at the 2016 Singapore International 3D Printing Competition. This year’s edition of the competition, hosted by the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at the Nanyang Technological University, called for participants to create stylish and functional eyewear or shoes using 3D printing technologies. With a message as strong as “world peace” symbolically embedded into their shoe, it is no wonder that the innovative students from the University of Buffalo took home first place, which included a cash prize of $10,000.

While there is no word on whether the 3D printed peace shoes will be commercially available anytime soon, we can imagine the innovative and inspiring footwear could be a hit.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Makesyouwonder wrote at 12/3/2017 5:32:41 AM:

Um... why aren't the students WEARING the shoes?

Sethic wrote at 7/7/2016 5:44:49 PM:

The sandals of tomorrow.

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