I sometimes go on at length about my difficulties in buying shoes for my near-spherical feet. Often I visit shoeshops, both online and offline, only to return empty-handed…or at least unshod.
Today’s invention is a new use for rapid prototyping. People with difficult-to-fit feet could stand on a special board at home. This would have fixed lights and markings on it indicating a number of positions to place a camera and take digital photographs of the more ‘challenging’ foot.
These photos would then be uploaded and sent to shoeshops which had equipped themselves with a desktop replicator and software capable of generating a 3-D foot description from a series of images.
This would be used to drive the deposition of a model of one’s foot in heavy, flexible plastic material. Attempts could then be made to insert this model, Cinderella-like, into a number of shoes in the shop.
In the event of success, a purchase could be made online in confidence that the footwear would fit when delivered.