Monash’s Design Health Collab and SensiLab have partnered with footwear brand Blundstone Australia to increase safety and comfort in a demanding healthcare environment by fusing the latest technology and design techniques.
The Blundstone Australia design team held regular workshops with doctors, nurses and other healthcare specialists to ensure the boost met comfort, durability and hygiene challenges.
Monash Health Design Collab Dr. Rowan Page said the technology captures information about daily challenges faced by the wearer and uses machine learning techniques to provide real-time feedback and task classification.
“We integrated a sensor system that analyzes multiple parts of the foot to provide real-time information through a smartphone app that detects abnormalities and highlights potential issues,” Dr Page said.
“Shoes classify different tasks undertaken throughout a shift and can identify different postures, changes in walking gait and heavy lifting.”
“Visualizing this data can show areas of high pressure on the body throughout the workday and highlight potential issues.”
The technology could highlight the risk of injury and fatigue, and prevent accidents before they happen through further development.
The team’s research emphasized comfort and hygiene – top priorities for healthcare workers – when working on the shoes.
The toe of the boot resists chemicals and bacteria to provide better protection for the wearer.
Blundstone CEO Adam Blake said workers rely on Blundstone boots to protect them in all kinds of environments.
“Partnering with Monash’s Design Health Lab and SensiLab has been a great opportunity for Blundstone to dive deep into understanding the needs of healthcare workers.”
Sustainability and ethics are also at the forefront of the design. The concept boot uses synthetic and plant-based materials, a computer-knit collar that eliminates material waste, an upper that provides chemical and bacterial resistance, and a recyclable polyurethane sole.
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