We propose that research be performed to specify the computer-aided engineering required in custom footwear production. Presently, custom shoes for orthopedic conditions and for very active athletes must be derived from casts representing foot topography or wood lasts which must be modified by hand to represent the essential biomechanical features. Three-dimensional (3-D) imaging technology should be accessed for application to this problem. In replacing the cast and last skill-based techniques, the proposed system would record surface and underlying bony topographies for display and operator modifications made interactively on the computer screen. Software, like the operator intervention, would introduce biomechanical requirements of pathology or of special service demands, as in sports. Pressure mapping can also be introduced to display how shape modifications affect the critical force (shear) patterns on the foot. Stages are proposed in the development of a complete system for the provision of custom footwear, making such footwear accessible to an increased proportion of the nation's population.
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