#2051: Carpetrack

I didn’t realise that runners over different distances had strong preferences for different track materials (longer distance runners prefer springier material).

Given that these elite athletes are supported in every other possible way (don’t start me on the 30 miles of ‘VIP’ lanes through London), why not give them tracks they want to run on?

Today’s invention is therefore a running track laying machine which can lift the entire width of the track (like a wide carpet) and replace it with alternative material.

This could even be automated so that 400m could be replaced in a few minutes. The 10,000m could thus follow the 100m immediately if required to do so (by the TV schedulers).


  1. Why not making a carpet that can be hardened by applying a certain voltage? Due to the voltage the material get stiffer as “muscles” in the carpet contract. That allows you to change the behavior of the carpet immediately. Because the voltage can be regulated any level of stiffness (to certain extent) can be created.

    But that’s not all. Add an addressing scheme and some basic electronics and one can make some parts jumpier and other stiffer.
    Better still, give the runners an RFID with their personal settings and the carpet under their shoes instantaneously change to their presets!

    this would also be usefull for carpets in the living room to change between summer (barefoot-> soft) and winter (shoes-> harder) feeling …

    • Oh yes, good one. I like the idea of a personalised, local friction coefficient. It would make sense to have high roughness during acceleration and reduced roughness when at maximal speed.

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