Why did we call it the Bionic Runner?
Firstly we did not name it after Sid (sorry mate!) and it wasn’t named after Steve Austin.
Bionics is the study of natural systems, which are then applied to engineering. Think Leonardo Da Vinci and his flying machines. He looked at what already existed in nature, and imagined how it can be used in a machine. Another common example is Velcro. The inventor saw that burs clung to his dog’s hair, and Velcro was born.
Now this is opposite to coming up with an engineering solution, and trying to apply it to nature.
When we were doing our R&D we had no preconceived ideas of what would or wouldn’t work. What we did have was the commitment to search for the truth, to discover what really worked, and find out why.
So we started by taking the engineering approach and trying to apply it to nature. We developed an elliptical machine that was totally adjustable. We rode it, adjusted it every way we could, and it always felt more like cross country skiing or striding rather than running. We knew it wasn’t right, but we didn’t know exactly why.
So we went back to nature, a core concept in Bionics. We studied the running gait. We took good form runners and mapped their motions on CAD software. It was soon obvious that the running gait and an ellipse aren’t similar.
So we went through over 2 years of radical changes and modifications. We always went back to nature, we studied runners, we asked for their feedback.
The end result is that we have two unique findings drawn for our study of what naturally occurs in running. Firstly the shape is an asymmetric ovate, which provides a mid-foot running gait that maps muscle memory to a fast compact stride and strengthens the same muscles as running. Secondly nature taught us the obvious. Running is not symmetric in its timing. When we run we spend more time in the air than we do on the ground. Our elliptical prototype failed this timing test because it had 50:50 symmetrical timing – neither running nor walking. The Bionic runner has 60:40 asymmetric timing, just like running is supposed to.
So there you have it, we named the Bionic Runner after the process we followed, the process of studying nature to create a better non-impact running machine.