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Science / Medicine : More Bounce to Your Step

November 09, 1987|EDWARD E. DUENSING | Duensing is a New Jersey free-lance writer with a special interest in newly issued patents

Ever wished you could jump several feet in the air, or run down the street with giant hopping strides that would dwarf efforts of ordinary mortals?

Dale Omilusik, a mechanic and truck driver from Calgary, Canada, has.

Even back in grade school, he used to draw pictures of people with springs on their shoes. But unlike so many childhood fantasies, this one come true for Omilusik--and he has recently patented it.

Omilusik calls his new invention the Spring Boot. It consists of four coil springs embedded in a plastic base that is molded around the sole of a leather boot.

To assure a good grip on the ground, there is a cylinder of non-skid rubber or plastic on the bottom of each spring. "The non-skid bottoms and the special springs are what give my boots the control earlier models lacked," explains Omilusik. "To turn left, you lean to the left--the springs do the rest."

The path to this patent began while the 31-year-old inventor was working in a garage. He picked up the eight valve springs from an engine that had been repaired, and suddenly, the old high-bouncing dream came back.

Omilusik attached the springs to a metal plate and tied the plate to his feet with rags. He jumped only a few inches off the ground on this first try, but he knew he was on to something.

"Rags and rope wouldn't do," said Omilusik. "The springs kept slipping off."

With the help of his father, a shoemaker, he perfected the design and immediately built a pair for himself. "It was wonderful. When I first put them on, I couldn't even feel my feet touch the ground."

Today, he can jump four feet in the air, turn, spin, and even do flips. Omilusik says, "They are great for jogging and wonderful for basketball. Spring boots will change the way many games are played."

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