The "Smart Shoe"

Ronald S. Demon invented an athletic shoe whose cushion support automatically adjusts to suit not only the shape of the wearer's feet, but also the manner in which the shoe is being used at any given time.

Demon grew up in Miami, where his youthful pursuits included basketball and computer software. It was the latter interest that brought him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a freshman in the fall of 1995. In the following semesters and summers, Demon worked on a number of computer projects, at MIT's Edgerton Center and Media Lab and at Intel Corp. Here, he furthered his expertise in digital graphics, photography, and video and in Java applications such as applets.

In the meantime, Demon was finishing up a long-term project. While still in high school, he had bought a pair of the first Reebok athletic shoes to feature pumped-air cushioning and support. Demon was quickly disillusioned: like many people, he found that "the pump" involved more effort and less effect than he had hoped. Unlike most people, however, he decided to build a better model himself.

Demon designed a shoe whose sole has a number of separate but interconnected pockets, or bladders, filled with a shock-absorbent fluid. Using his computer skills, he then wired sensors from each of the bladders into a computer chip. Demon programmed the chip to regulate the flow of fluid among the bladders through tiny valves, according to the amount and position of force applied by the feet while the shoes are being worn. This "Variable Capacitance Pressure Zone System" ensures that the shoes continuously provide the maximum cushioning effect. Demon's "Smart Shoe" has the potential to provide a new level of comfort and performance in footwear – especially for athletes, hikers, exercisers, and those with orthopedic and other medical complaints.

Demon had already built a working prototype before arriving at MIT in 1995 and had even created a multi-media CD-ROM to promote his new invention. In 1998, Demon secured U.S. patent #5,813,142 for his "Shoe Sole with an Adjustable Support Pattern." He founded a company, VectraSense Technologies, to bring his Smart Shoes to market.

Demon's other inventions include personalized search engine technology and a Virtual Server (which was his Undergraduate Thesis project).

Demon graduated with an SB in Computer Science from MIT in 1999 as a patented inventor.