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The Pumper Footer

Ruth Age 11

Hexham, UK

This idea has been made real

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, UK

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Ruth had only returned from Malawi to Northumberland a few weeks before taking part in the challenge in her local library in Hexham. While living in Africa, her school uniform included socks and shoes so her feet were understandably too hot and uncomfortable. Ruth designed the ingenious Pumper Footer that refreshes your feet with fresh air at every step. The pressure of putting down your foot creates a blast of air in the shoe. Well done Ruby for finding a way to harness the energy of walking!

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Lottie Smith has been working on making this idea real.
Initial Ideas
Posted by Lottie Smith

I love Ruths idea of a pair of shoes that will cool your feet when they get too hot. I lived in a much hotter climate than the UK when I was growing up and these would have been very useful. 

To begin coming up with ideas I first split the design of the Pumper Footer into 2 parts and asked myself these questions:
- How will the shoe collect the air?
- How will the shoe distribute the cold air to different parts of the foot?

My first idea was to make a shoe which has an area or void that fills with air as you lift your foot off the ground and then, using the weight of your body, distributes that air through hoses to different areas of your feet. Maybe these could be movable, or designed so that you can choose to cool different parts of the foot more than others (some people might have sweaty toes, some sweaty heels)
You can see on my first drawing I was thinking of them working a little like the foot pumps you can get to pump up airbeds or paddling pools.

I thought this solution would work but it occurred to me there were still some ways of improving it. 

The problem with this first design is that once your feet have grown then you'd need a whole new pair of pumper footers, and if the shoes themselves were worn down then you couldn't even pass them on to someone else to use. So I wondered if there was a way we could make them less wasteful.

The next drawing is my idea for a more reusable solution, allowing you to attach Ruths Pumper Footer device to lots of different shoes. This means when you get new shoes you can switch the device to them, you would also be able to lend this design to friends or family if you're not using it yourself just as long as they have installed connection points on their shoes.

How it functions:

- The device sits around the back of your ankle/lower leg and attaches with straps.
- The top is made up of lots of funnels at different angles to best collect as much of the air passing over the top as you are walking. 
- The air is stored in the chamber underneath the funnels where it can also be cooled if it is too warm.
- When the chamber is full the air is forced out through the distribution hoses by a plunger.
- The hoses attach via nozzles to connectors installed in your regular shoes. 

The connection points would be installed into your chosen shoes, the benefit of this would be that you could choose where you would like them to go. For example if you’re wearing trainers you might want cool air in different places than if you’re wearing wellington boots.

When your shoes are worn out these connectors can be removed and reinstalled in a new pair and in the winter when it's cold you don't have to walk around with the whole pumper footer on but you can still wear your favourite shoes!