One small step for man, one giant leap for Moonwalkers

5th December 2022
Kiera Sowery

Moonwalkers claim to be the world’s first electrical shoes enabling you to walk at the speed of a run intuitively and effortlessly. Its creator, Shift Robotics aims to transform the face of urban mobility.

It began when Founder and CEO Zunjie Zhang almost got knocked off his scooter by a car whilst travelling his usual mile distance to work. It was then that he asked himself why he never walked to work, the safer and more convenient option.

Personal safety and mobility have attempted to be enhanced for decades with incline skates, skateboards and bikes to name a few, all of which have been a learning curve.

Walking is a safe, healthy way of getting around and part of our nature. Therefore, Zhang made it his mission to enhance walking instead of replacing it, utilising his experience as a jet propulsion engineer to discover ways to travel faster.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon's Robotic Institute, Zhang teamed up with a group of race car engineers, roboticists and trainer designers to create Moonwalkers. The team packed everything you would find in an electric vehicle into the form factor of a shoe to effortlessly walk at a running speed.

Zhang and his team developed a motor controller, a precision gearbox and a battery pack that were minimised to fit in the Moonwalkers.

Thanks to intuitive AI algorithms that analyse, the shoes adapt to your gait meaning there’s no new skill to learn, or complicated technology to understand. Once strapped to your feet, tiny electric motors power eight wheels which propel you forward up to 7mph.

The 8-wheel patented drivetrain consists of overlapping wheels to simulate much larger diameter wheels to climb over uneven terrain.

The shoes can be fully charged in 90 minutes and have a range of 6.5 miles. Moonwalkers also begin in lock mode, where its electronic brake fully locks the wheels. To enter shift mode is easy. Users lift up their right heel and rotate it clockwise towards their left leg while keeping their toe on the ground. With no remote to worry about, you can let your hands be free.

The intuitive lock mode allows the user to step onto a train, lift, or walk upstairs without having to remove the shoes.

Only slightly larger than your shoes, Moonwalkers can go anywhere, from the crowded train to your office or coffee shop, without taking them off.

Expected to go on sale in 2023, Moonwalkers will cost £1,213 but are available cheaper on Shift Robotics’ Kickstarter page, which so far has raised over £99,000.

Shift Robotics is a wearable mobility company based in the US, founded by a group of futurists and engineers and a group or talented race car engineers, roboticists, and trainer designers.

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