When they saw him walking on the carpet, they were terrified, and said, "It is a vacuum!" And they cried out in fear.
2017 is the world's biggest tradeshow for tech, you're bound to see some quirky stuff. And lo, we did -- in the form of a vacuum shoe from Japanese auto company Denso.
The shoe is a concept product that emerged from an internal company contest that is held every other year. Started in 1991, the Denso contest lets employees pitch new ideas to "foster their creative and innovative design concepts" and chooses 12 finalists to present in Japan.
One of the finalist projects is the Ecology Shoe, which has a small vacuum inside its very large, outer sole. At the heel is a small pedal, which is connected to gears. Every step you take powers the vacuum motor, allowing it to suck up small pieces of debris at a time.
All the dirt resides in a small dust box no bigger than a Tic Tac mint box. It's also inside the sole and can be emptied out.
Though the concept sounds cool, the shoes are impractical. They're very heavy and not the slightest bit attractive. (I'm all for rockabilly, and do acknowledge Japan's own subculture of rockabilly fashion, but I'm not keen on the clunky platform and the checkered saddle shoe aesthetic.)
These vaccuum shoes are perfect for tidy fashionistas
Plus, since you have to keep pumping your heel up and down to turn the vacuum on, you won't be able to pick up much dirt as you walk. Instead, you'll need to repeatedly step in one place and deliberately aim at the debris. In the end, it's less "vacuum shoes" and more "very weak vacuum hose with an inconvenient design."
Then again, this is just a prototype and perhaps Denso will continue to develop it. Until a consumer-ready product is made, however, we'll just have to manually vacuum all the dirt and mud our shoes track in.