A 3D printing bionics company, Wiivv Wearables, recently launched a custom 3D printed insole designed to reduce common foot pain.
The insoles are created using five photos from a smartphone camera, making it easy for anyone to take advantage of their service.
“The impetus for Wiivv was entirely inspired by helping people,” says the company’s head of marketing, Jen Riley. “An insole – although it might sound trite – is the foundation of every step you take. We can markedly improve the lives of many by helping to maximize comfort, promote alignment and lessen foot fatigue – so we want to spread that as wide as we can. ”
The team that developed the insole was inspired by a group of professionals they designated “industrial athletes”: People who spend the majority of their work days on their feet, such as nurses, servers, baristas or security guards.
They are also pursuing a socially responsible business model. Alongside the launch of their insole, Wiivv ran a ‘buy two, give one’ promotion on Kickstarter, encouraging customers to select someone (perhaps an industrial athlete) whom they feel might need a pair of custom insoles.
Of course, Wiivv’s brand of social entrepreneurship is driven by more than just altruism: in an era of benevolent consumers, social responsibility has become a popular way for start-ups to stand apart from – and above – the crowd, Riley says, with Wiivv benefitting from the guidance of experienced social entrepreneur Liz Heller.
“She has helped us to identify the most direct ways to connect with our consumer base, and was instrumental in ensuring that our sense of social responsibility was at the forefront,” explains Riley.
For Wiivv, insoles are just the beginning, with Riley saying the company will be introducing another product within the next few months.
“Wiivv is not an insole company, but a company dedicated to creating custom, 3D printed, body-perfect gear for the masses,” she says. “An insole is a great place for us to start, but the technology we have built – called our Adaptive Manufacturing System – can be utilized to mass-customize items for any part of the body.”
“The world is changing and we want to lead as we move into the on-demand economy,” she says.