Falls and subsequent complications are major contributors to morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults. Here, by taking inspiration from claws and scales found in nature, we show that buckling kirigami structures applied to footwear outsoles generate higher friction forces in the forefoot and transversally to the direction of movement. We identified optimal kirigami designs capable of modulating friction for a range of surfaces, including ice, by evaluating the performance of the dynamic kirigami outsoles through numerical simulations and in vitro friction testing, as well as via human-gait force-plate measurements. We anticipate that lightweight kirigami metasurfaces applied to footwear outsoles could help mitigate the risk of slips and falls in a range of environments.
Reference: Nature Biomedical Engineering
Babaee, S., S. Pajovic, A. Rafsanjani, Y. Shi, K. Bertoldi, and G. Traverso, "Bioinspired kirigami metasurfaces as assistive shoe grips," Nature Biomedical Engineering 4 (8), 778-786 (2020)
Katia Bertoldi (Mechanical Engineering)
2019-2020 Harvard MRSEC (DMR-1420570)