This proposal has been prepared with the help of an Exploratory Award which included a Research Feasibility Study. A footbed is an special insole aimed to fit the anatomical shape of the planter aspect of the foot in order to provide extra comfort. The design of footbeds has to deal with the lack of information about scientific design criteria for footbeds, and the traditional way of development and production is based on the manual construction of maquettes. Because of that, current development of new footbeds is an expensive and time consuming trial error process, leading, in many cases, to unsuccessful products due to the design difficulties mentioned. Therefore, in this project it is aimed to generate footbeds design criteria based in user's preferences, foot dimensions of the target population and in the biomechanical interaction between the footsole and the footbed; to improve the footbeds design procedures incorporating new production systems and to search new footbeds materials aimed to be ecological that introduce new concepts in the footbeds design. By these means the main goals of the project will be accomplished: to produce added value footbeds based on the design criteria, to generate new footbeds concepts, to reduce the expensive and time consuming trial error process of new footbeds designs and to improve prototyping procedures by the use of new technologies. The scientifical design of footbeds must take into account the feet dimensions of the population it is intended for, must be based on the study of the user's perception and biomechanical measurements, like the pressure distribution between the footsole and the footbed. The methodology of the project is to start from the knowledge of consumer, market and manufacturer information, in order to define design criteria about footbeds, rapid production systems and search on new market segments. With these design criteria, prototypes will be generated and evaluated, as a basis for new product development. The scientific criteria will provide an increase of the products' added value, based on the improvement of comfort and foot health for the consumer. Furthermore, the shortening of the design stage up to arrive to the final prototype will reduce the waste of raw materials in failed prototypes. Therefore, the main activities proposed are: Identify the main requirements of footbeds from the end customer's point of view. Develop applications of new materials (ecological, e.g. cork) and manufacturing processes (CAD/CAM) to allow more efficient and ecological insole production. Generate design criteria (geometry, material properties, etc.) of footbeds. Develop footbeds prototypes according to the above criteria improving the technological and production capabilities of the participating industries. Evaluation of the improved products. Assessing the consumer and seller on proper purchasing and use criteria. The project will be carried out in two phases. During the first one the main problems and design factors will be checked, an anthropometric database generated, and a market sample of footbeds will be tested. Also, new production technologies and materials will be introduced. In the second phase, the generated design rules will be incorporated into the products of the SME's and their new products and materials will be evaluated in order to assess that they comply with the main comfort and functional requirements. Thus, approximately six to twelve months after the end of the project, the SME's will be able to launch footwear models in the market which incorporate the footbeds designed on the basis of the scientific requirements available from the current state of theart, positioning their products in the upper segment of the market. Furthermore, the SME's will reduce the required design process time and costs.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
5170 AA Kaatsheuvel
8100 AA Raalte
5600 HE Eindhoven