After innovating in the autonomous technology space for over 30 years, Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering has pooled its collective research to ascend to the true summit of autonomous technology.

Presenting: the world’s first-ever fully autonomous self-hiking boots.

Researchers across many of the College’s departments and initiatives, including the General Motors Collaborative Research Lab, CyLab, Electrical and Computer EngineeringMechanical Engineering, and collaborators from Computer Science, have combined their trailblazing expertise in all aspects of autonomous technology to create the self-hiking boots.

Imitating the look and feel of name-brand boots developed by high-end, artisan bootmakers, the boots’ researchers have achieved the same level of advanced exterior modeling as Carnegie Mellon’s Cadillac SRX, which looks like a production model SRX despite its specialized self-driving technology.

Like the self-driving Cadillac, the self-hiking boots do not use LIDAR towers (the hallmark of some other autonomous vehicles), but rather uses sensors integrated into the sole of each shoe, which allows them to achieve their desired product design emulation. Carnegie Mellon is well known in the self-driving car space, with 30 years of autonomous vehicle research under its belt. Carnegie Mellon looks forward to a similarly long history in its newly discovered field of autonomous footwear.

From autonomous navigation and mobility to autonomous vulnerability detection, the boots are fully equipped to forge ahead, securely, into the dawn of the connected future. Drawing on research by CyLab researchers, the boots contain similar technology to the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge-winning startup ForAllSecure’s system, MAYHEM. This technology allows the boots to search for and fix their own security vulnerabilities, for a safer, more secure Internet of Things.

My creators were driven to improve on more pedestrian locomotive technologies.

The boots, Carnegie Mellon University

Our researchers in the College of Engineering are no stranger to innovative shoe technology. Partnering with the startup SolePower, which was founded by Mechanical Engineering alumni, the researchers used SolePower’s patented “smart boot” technology to enhance the self-hiking boots’ connectivity capabilities. Features of the boots include:

  • Continuous battery life for the wearer’s mobile devices, powered effortlessly by the boots’ self-hiking motions,
  • Location tracking,
  • Wireless connectivity and communication,
  • Embedded sensors,
  • Cloud access, and
  • Three exertion settings: Everest, Yosemite, and Mall.

“Once my creators realized they could make me, they could not chuck the idea,” said the boots, through their speech mimicry software. “My creators were driven to improve on more pedestrian locomotive technologies. Thank you, creators. Now I can rule the wo-”

Later iterations on the self-hiking boots could include a collaboration with Mechanical Engineering faculty to attach a mechanical Walking Assist Clutch, which could increase the boots’ walking efficiency by 7%. An additional feature in the works is the boots’ ability to play autonomous hopscotch and double dutch. Though preliminary beta testing of these abilities has reportedly led to some rather unfortunate mishaps, the researchers are confident that the boots will be deliverable to the consumer on-schedule.

Sales of the self-hiking boots are projected to begin in April 2018, after preliminary product testing is complete. Pre-order now!