The Mercury Skate is a conceptually based design that has integrated functional mechanical principles for use in daily life and exercise regimes. The main idea behind this concept is to eradicate one of the most common downsides of skating which could lead to medical issues – vibration. Skating on most outside surfaces transmits vibrations from the foot, through the ankle, and up the skater’s leg. These vibrations over time can result in pain and possible injury to the leg joints.
Mercury’s design proclaims to not only absorb vibration while skating, but to also create a much less energy-intensive ride; users will be able to skate for longer periods of time, go faster, and have more control over the skate. This is achieved by two techniques.
The first method uses a large spring that goes from the middle of the wheels to the bottom of the heel to absorb the heaviest shocks. The second method is accomplished through the way the foot is attached to the boot via an air fixing system. A series of air bags placed in the boot are inflated to create a cushion of air around the foot which helps keep it steady in place. Ankle support is directly related to the degree of air pressure surrounding the foot and ankle.
Air for the bags is provided by a damper system. When the skater changes the mode from anti-shock to blower and presses either foot to the ground, the damper compacts, transferring the air to the bags. Air pressure is then adjustable by buttons on each boot.
In addition to absorbing vibrations, the skate features a unique design of the boot and front wheels that does not currently exist in other skates. The boot has a removable calf for those skaters who work with calfless racing shoes and want more comfort. The front wheel is equipped with an anti-shock system which prevents the front wheels from locking when hitting a small stone or any other obstacle. This anti-shock system allows for increased skating safety, stability, and control.
Mercury Skate designer Pouyan Mokhtarani entered his concept in the Volvo Sport Design competition at ISPO ‘07. While this skate is only a concept, it may offer an insight into the future of skate design and structure.
TFOT has covered other stories on shoes and sport accessories, including “Xtenex Shoelace,” the Xplorer GPS Smart Shoe, and gloves that monitor their wearer’s health, functioning as a personal trainer in “Vie Smart Sports Glove.”
You may visit the designer’s website for more information on the Mercury Skate, which is listed under the heading “Competitions.”