Museum spotlights shoe technology

Showing its lighter side, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Museum in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday opened an exhibit called "Shoes: Innovations at Your Feet."

The summer exhibit showcases the history of patented footwear and various shoe technology from the 19th century to the present, as well as patent-pending commercial innovations.

The Cougar Paws' Duraflex roofing boots with detachable soles that allow roofers to change grip depending on the type of roof, or roofing project stage, were on display.

Got cold feet? Shoes using the aerogel material developed for NASA astronauts are also part of the exhibit. The nanotechnology material, now being sold as an innersole, keeps feet warm and blood circulating even in extreme cold.

"I imagine it (aerogel) will be as big as Gortex a one point," said Mitch Scott, senior designer for the exhibit.

In addition to the technological aspect, the exhibit also hosts innovative shoe styles worn by First Ladies, Shaquille O'Neal's , and the Manolo Blahniks of "Sex in the City" fame.

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In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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