Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:45 AM
Another direction you could go with this is that instead of the pump actually being in the shoe, just use the motion of walking to operate the pump.
This would only work with an air tank design (as in a compressed air tank - think Titan), not the stomp-'n-fire design, but it might be more practical in the long run than the shoes.
What I'm thinking is, the chamber of the pump is strapped or somehow attached the the thigh with the pumping handle facing downward. The handle is then strapped to the lower leg, near the ankle (either on the foot or above the ankle on the calf). Because the motion of walking bends the leg, it would operate the pump every time you take a step (think of the motion you use here - the leg bends, then goes straight, then bends again, etc). This would pump an air tank. An overpressure valve would be needed to keep the tank from overinflating if you walk for too long without firing, but that's easy enough.
The pump would certainly need to be both large and sturdy, but I think it could be done. There would also need to be some room for movement in the pump mounting, since your leg does not go straight up and down while walking.
Anyway, just a thought.