Evonik bets on success of 3D-printed insoles startup


The much-vaunted potential of mass customization by way of 3D printing is getting a bit of traction, thanks to customer-specific insoles developed by Wiivv Wearables Inc. (Vancouver, BC, Canada). And chemicals company Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) is lending a hand to the commercialization of this foot care product. A leading global supplier of polyamide 12 for 3D printing, which is used to manufacture the insoles, Evonik has made a minority investment in Wiivv Wearables. The investment is part of a joint venture capital deal with Formation 8, a financial investor headquartered in Silicon Valley, and Canadian seed investor Real Ventures. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Starting in fall 2015, Wiivv will 3D print biomechanically optimized insoles adapted to customer-specific anatomies. It plans to integrate electronic sensors into the footwear to capture and record dynamic data, which will enable optimization of movement sequences. Applications include professional sports and the production of movement profiles that, for example, can measure and predict the degree of fatigue of industrial workers. It may also have uses in physical therapy.

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