Tuesday, 17th February '09
US Patent No. 6,018,888 is PAINFUL.
From 16 December, 12:49 am.
So, I acquired myself a set of these today and am very much on the verge of suggesting some amendments to the preferred embodiments of the same. And I did actually look up the patent, by the way. The background was very amusing.
I ain't no engineer, but from the point of view of someone who bought this thing today and is being caused much pain by it, I think whoever drafted this was a wee bit ambitious / melodramatic:
"It has been suggested that dancing is the oldest of the art forms. Certainly, it has been found in every culture and on every continent in the world since time immemorial. In all instances, the elements of rhythm, symmetry, repetition, exaggeration and grace exhibit themselves in a visual spectacle that both enlists attention, and instills a feeling of well-being both in participants and the audience. While in the simplest forms of dance, these elements of rhythm, symmetry, a repetition, exaggeration and grace all are incorporated in movement of the hands and feet, the torso also tends to follow movements and participate in the exercise.
In more developed forms of dance, such as the minuet, square dancing, and in the dancing of the Middle Ages generally, the torso is an active participant in the dance, with its movement controlled into orientation and position to complement the movement of the hands and feet. It all of these forms of dance, however, movement is made with a relatively natural and ordinary energy expenditure, as well as with movements which derived from everyday un-stressed movements.
However, with the development of the dance, and desire for a greater range of artistic expression, dancers have catapulted themselves from the ordinary everyday sorts of movements to movements derived from actions at the edge of human endurance and athletic ability. Perhaps one of the more refined forms of dance first to employ such movements was the ballet.
In ballet, movements include dance steps inspired by running, jumping, leaping and physical interaction between two or more individuals. The end result is a remarkably punishing regimen of movement being associated with virtually any ballet performance. Not surprisingly, the pursuit of perfection in ballet goes along with a remarkably high incidence of strain and injury. Indeed, the problem is so serious that few dancers are able to practice their profession into middle age.
At the same time, the attempt, in ballet, to achieve extremes in movement has spawned the development of footwear adapted to enable such unnatural movements as rotation on a toe, walking and landing on the toes, and the like. Such footwear, in addition to enabling such dance steps, also has the salutary effect of protecting the feet, by spreading out the force of a landing, or the pressure resulting from support of the body over a wide area of the outside surface of the foot, thus reducing the incidence of injury and strain. However, footwear also has the effect of reducing control under certain circumstances.
Moreover, while the use of, for example, ballet slippers provides a visually stimulating display, given the slipper's go typically satiny silk charmeuse finish, in many forms of dance, the visibility of the shoe is regarded with disfavor. This is articulate cell indicates of modern dance where the "barefoot "look is considered, for many pieces, required.
Moreover, given the fact that modern dance builds upon classical ballet and thus takes from classical ballet dramatic movements at the edge of human endurance and ability, the attempt to implement this measure of control and exaggeration without protective footwear has been disastrous in terms of the impact on the modern dancer. Nevertheless, so vigorous is the requirement for dancing without the protection of the classical ballet slipper, dancers, daily, subject their feet to the punishment of impacts, pulls, twisting and abrasion. The result is sore, inflamed skin, or, worse, cracked and bleeding soles."
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
"The present invention is directed to an unobtrusive foot covering that protects the ball of a dancer's foot. It accommodates the desire of modern dancers to wear no shoes while performing or practicing their dance routines. At the same time, it allows dancing barefoot without causing the dancers to sustain injuries to what would otherwise be their uncovered feet. In particular, the ball of the dancers foot is protected from injury.
The above objects of the invention are achieved by the use of a protective pad which is positioned on the inventive footwear in such a matter as to result in its being placed over the ball of the foot when the footwear is in position on a human foot. The protective pad is made of a material which, on the side which faces the sole or ball of the foot, have a coefficient of friction which securely engages the ball before at all points. This results in spreading out the force of what would otherwise be an abrasive impact over a wide area of the ball of the foot. While it is true that there is still a pulling of the flesh in the area surrounding point of engagement with the pad, because of the large area of engagement, even the pull is spread over a wider portion of skin, thus reducing the likelihood of injury.
The side of the pad which faces the floor has a coefficient of friction which is high enough to provide secure engagement of the floor by the ball of the foot, and yet low enough to allow the ball of the foot to rotate or slide on a typically polished dance floor. In accordance with the preferred embodiment, the coefficient of fiction of the pad surface facing the ball of the foot is higher than the coefficient of friction between the pad and the polished dance floor.
The pad is maintained in position by a plurality of elastic straps which fit around the toes, heel and metatarsus of the dancer's foot.
In addition and in accordance with the preferred embodiment, an elastic member comprising an elastic ribbon of material with a textile-like finish such as ordinary elastic band of the type used in sewing, is used to form the edge of the pad. This edge material also has the salutary effect, in combination with the elastic straps which secure the pad of the inventive item of footwear to the toes, in step and heel, of allowing the pad to be formed around the ball of the foot."
... and all I really bought it for was so that my feet wouldn't squeak on pirouette... the "plurality of elastic straps" currently hurt like *(&$#&@^.
And, um, if you haven't yet figured out, US Patent No, 6,018,888 is the Bloch Foot Thong. *scream*
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]