Alumnus invents new form of transport: the iShoe

The product is a lightweight alternative to biking or blading that can also be used inside.

by Betsy Graca

With walking, driving, biking, Rollerblading and running, students can now add motorized shoes to their list of options to get around campus.

Ilya Kaganovich, University alumnus, recently developed the iShoe – described on the product’s Web site as “a light weight transportation device for getting around the city, office complex or college campus.”

With constantly changing technology and increasing competition, a modern day inventor has a difficult process to undergo.

“What can I do to bring myself the biggest benefit? What can I do with the education I got and with my skills?” Kaganovich asked himself. “One day, I thought of motorized shoes.”

However, the shoes didn’t just create themselves.

Kaganovich said he worked on the shoes for 12 hours a day for about a month while spending the summer in New York.

The first pair was slapped together with duct tape, included a large backpack with batteries and would only work indoors, he said.

The newest model weighs only 10 pounds with batteries built into the shoes, is able to go 20 mph and can be used outdoors and up hills.

“There were a lot of failures that went into making something that actually works,” he said.

The general feedback from the public can be divided into generally three groups, Boris Kaganovich, Ilya’s brother and University engineering senior, said.

“There’s the people – ‘I want that.’ There’s the people – ‘I could see who would want that.’ Then there’s the third group – ‘You must be lazy, you might as well walk,’ ” Boris Kaganovich said.

Others are more skeptical of the practicality of the motorized shoes.

Chase Trogen, member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, said he wasn’t sure what kind of market there would be for the iShoe.

“If you think of Segways, those aren’t very practical,” he said. “I really can’t see the difference between this particular invention and that one, other than that motorized shoes are easier to carry around.”

Ilya Kaganovich said in comparison to a bicycle or Rollerblades, the iShoes are easier to transport and can be used indoors.

Boris Kaganovich said he was initially skeptical of his brother’s invention, but things changed once he tried the shoes for himself.

Boris Kaganovich, along with working on his own inventions, said he helped his brother develop the mechanics of the iShoes.

He said his brother is always coming up with eccentric ideas.

“He’s not like normal people,” he said.

As a child, Ilya Kaganovich created a “crazy” home theater system in his parents’ basement – complete with fiber optic lights.

Boris Kaganovich said their parents have been “supportively skeptical” of the brothers’ inventions.

Victor Feldberg, University alumnus, has tried out the new iShoes and said there were many spectators curious about the invention.

“They go really fast and they glide really smoothly,” he said. “It almost felt like I was on a skateboard, but I had two individual shoes.”

They’re a little bit hard to maneuver, he said, and it takes some time to get used to them, similar to Rollerblades.

Feldberg said the price was a little out of reach for some people – the shoes sell for just under $500 – but the product has potential to be on high demand.

Ilya Kaganovich said there is a patent pending on the product and he is currently working on 50 high-quality iShoes to be shipped out to reviewers.

“I sure like money,” he said. “But I really want this company to do well. I’ve got a lot of cool ideas, but they’re confidential right now.”