Sep 03

Extra Lifestyle / [Redacted] Project – Boots

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Are you kidding?  The fall will probably kill ya.

Far be it from me to want to encroach upon someone else’s territory, so I’ve asked Karma to look over this article*. This week, I wanted to discuss a bit of cosplay.

Chell Cosplay by Aoina.

It’s pretty obvious that I love Portal, so when I saw this costume of Chell at PAX Prime, I got giddy.

The gun was well constructed.  Functional LEDs, a good smooth surface created on the surface, and it was balanced so that it could be used one handed easily.  The companion cube was a great touch.

The outfit for the most part seemed fairly authentic.  I mean, it’s not a terribly difficult one.  You have the bottom half of the orange jumpsuit, and the tank-top.  Easy stuff, but it’s all about the details.

Not pictured here is another person she had with her, dressed as the scientist that was featured in the comic that was included in the game.  Not quite as spiffy as hers, but added a lot of flavor.

But what really floored me was the shoes. There were a number of Chells there, but this girl had the boots that looked the closest as they did from the game.  The framework and the heel were constructed from welded steel, giving a solid base to walk on.  They had some bounce to them, but had no real impedance upon her ability to navigate the convention within themselves.  Given how many pictures were taken of her (sorry, hun, had to hop in on the action myself), the only reason she wouldn’t have been able to move about the facility herself would have been the constant stopping for photo ops.

So after this was taken, I spent the next several hours wandering the show floor contemplating how to make them better.  Not look-wise, she seemed to have it pretty much down, but for functionality.

The concept of dressing up as a character/concept you adore or admire isn’t foreign to me.  But what does bother me is having something that is purely for show.  I want usefulness, or at least authenticity.  So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the Aperture Science promo videos that Valve put out for the boots.

The exact materials were never really described in it, but the way they worked was fairly well laid out.

Fall a long ways, the boots absorb the impact.

What we’d need here is some rather…specific materials. I hopped over to one of my favorite sites, Inventables.

The heel would need to be super bouncy, but won’t just throw you back up. For this, you’ll probably need a couple things. Using this hyper elastic metal, you can create the bouncy bit.  Then you can use this air muscle to slow your decent, by funneling some of the downward force into a pump to fill it, and cause some reverse tension. To add the ability to add some flair, you can add a strip of stretch sensing rubber to show how much impact you’re absorbing via light strips. So, that takes care of the Velocity Challenge Brace.

The sole of the boot will round out the parts that will be touching the ground. More impact absorbing tech, in the form of impact gel.  By adding a pressure sensing sheet, you can accurately take readings for how hard you’re hitting as well.  As with anything Aperture related, testing needs a way to measure results.  Lastly, put a coat of non-slip silicone film on the bottoms to keep grip.

The boot itself should be constructed out of something sturdy and moldable.  I went with polypropylene.

For the innards, we have some antimicrobial fabric and temperature regulating materials to reduce the inevitable sweaty boot rash. We’ll add a little bit of cushioning gel for comfort.

And to put everything together, besides your welding and soldering skills (and perhaps some jet construction epoxy), there’s an industrial strength tape that’s ridiculously strong.

As soon as I can put together a budget for these, we’ll be building a pair in the compound.

With any project we propose, this one comes with the warning of be careful, and don’t blame us if something goes wrong.  But if it goes right, it was totally our idea.  I’d suggest finding someone with some athletic/acrobatic/circus skills to test these on your own.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my lab. Send down a pinata!

*This article is Karma-approved!


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  1. Aoina

    Hola! That there Chell be me. Sorry it took me so long to get back to this, and find the article.

    I’ll be making a fiberglass form for both the portal gun and the boots as they were prototypes to be tested on the floor. Thanks so much for the article and gorgeous picture!


    1. Lawjick

      Thanks! Glad you found us!

      When you finish with the fiberglass ones, I’d loved to do an article on the project, if you wouldn’t mind. :D

  2. Jen

    Hey buddy, here is the other picture of Aiona with her well dressed partner (she had this linked in her blog):

    1. Lawjick

      :D They look great!

  3. guns of boom hack no human verification

    bing took me here. Cheers!

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