I was recently named inventor of the week at MIT.
RONALD S. DEMON
The "Smart Shoe"
Ronald Demon has invented an athletic shoe whose cushion support
automatically adjusts to suit not only the shape of the wearer's feet
but also the manner in which the shoe is being used at any given time.
Demon grew up in Miami, where his youthful pursuits included
basketball and computer software. It was the latter interest that
brought him to MIT as a freshman in the fall of 1995. In the following
semesters and summers, Demon worked on a number of computer projects,
at MIT's Edgerton Center and Media Lab and at Intel Corp. Here he
furthered his expertise in digital graphics, photography and video,
and in Java applications such as applets.
In the meantime, Demon was finishing up a long-term project. While
still in high school, he had bought a pair of the first Reebok
athletic shoes to feature pumped-air cushioning and support. Demon was
quickly disillusioned: like many people, he found that "the pump"
involved more effort and less effect than he had hoped. Unlike most
people, however, he decided to build a better model himself.
SmartShoe Demon designed a shoe whose sole has a number of separate
but interconnected pockets, or bladders, filled with a shock-absorbent
fluid. Using his computer skills, he then wired sensors from each of
the bladders into a computer chip. Demon programmed the chip to
regulate the flow of fluid among the bladders through tiny valves,
according to the amount and position of force applied by the feet
while the shoes are being worn. This "Variable Capacitance Pressure
Zone System" ensures that the shoes continuously provide the maximum
cushioning effect. Demon's "Smart Shoe" has the potential to provide a
new level of comfort and performance in footwear --- especially that
used by athletes, hikers, exercisers, and persons with orthopedic and
other medical complaints.
Demon had already built a working prototype before arriving at MIT
(1995), and had even created a multi-media CD-ROM to promote his new
invention. Last fall (1998), Demon secured US patent #5,813,142 for
his "Shoe Sole with an Adjustable Support Pattern." Recently, he
founded a company, VectraSense Technologies, to bring his Smart Shoes
to market. Demon continues to field test and refine his product; and
now, with the patent in hand, he is discussing strategic partnerships
with a number of shoe companies, including Reebok. And due to the
shoes' therapeutic potential, podiatrists are also showing a keen
Demon's other inventions include personalized search engine
technology, and a Virtual Server (his Undergraduate Thesis project).
After graduating with a BS in Computer Science in June of this year
(1999) as a patented inventor and company founder, Ronald Demon can
look forward to a long and successful career in the high tech business