Monash University’s Design Health Collab and SensiLab, have partnered with Tasmanian footwear brand, Blundstone Australia, to design and build an intelligent boot concept to meet the specific safety and comfort needs of healthcare professionals. The design received an award of merit at the prestigious Designers Australia Awards 2022, announced in early August.
The high-tech design monitors temperature and pressure via an integrated sensor system that analyses multiple parts of the foot. The technology captures rich information about the day-to-day challenges faced by wearers, and uses machine-learning techniques to provide real-time feedback and task classification.
the collaboration has been a great opportunity for Blundstone…
“The shoes classify different tasks undertaken throughout a work shift and can identify different postures, changes in walking gait and the lifting of heavy loads,” says Dr Rowan Page, from Monash Health Design Collab.
“The visualisation of this data can show areas of high pressure on the body across the workday and highlight potential problem areas.”
Healthcare workers were at the forefront of the project, with the design team regularly conducting workshops with health specialists to ensure the boot addressed challenges specific to each industry, including comfort, durability, and hygiene. The boot’s upper – the material covering the foot – provides chemical and bacterial resistance to the wearer.
With further development, the technology could highlight safety concerns, such as injury risk and fatigue, and prevent accidents before they occur.
Adam Blake, Blundstone Joint-CEO, says the collaboration has been a great opportunity for Blundstone to understand the needs of workers within the healthcare space. “We strive to be an innovator and collaborator that leverages the best science and technology, seeking to partner with leading expertise and knowledge,” he said.
The concept boot uses synthetic and plant-based materials, a computer-knitted collar that eliminates material waste, an upper that provides chemical and bacterial resistance, and a sole made from a recyclable polyurethane.