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Freelance consultant, learning facilitator, and writer, founder of extreme-inventing.com, ooleee.net (with artist Gary King), knowledgecafe0151. Teach technology entrepreneurship at School of Engineering at University of Liverpool, UK. I have a longstanding and avid interest in Technology as a unique human phenomenon. I'm actively engaged in research on how enterprising individuals shape material culture through inventing and innovating, with palaeoanthropologists at the Dept. of Archaeology, Egyptology and Classics, also at University of Liverpool.


The invention here demonstrated another principle of extreme inventing, namely, the emergence of additional functionality through a user’s experience. The picture features a pair of house slippers with some woven material extensions on the sole which you can use to polish wooden or marble floors. How does this design come about, why does it exist? It exists, like any other product, because it is a solution. The slippers encourage opportunistic floor polishing. Maybe adding fun to the otherwise laborious process of getting down on your knees with a rag. Get a pair for each of the kids and let them slide all over the place. At  some point in some place ( I first saw a similar pair in action in an apartment in Athens, Greece, in 1982) a user of a pair of slippers, probably made from soft fabric of some kind, noticed that where they walked the floor was left nice and shiny. At this point an additional function for slippers began to emerge in the user’s consciousness. A designer, may be the user herself, then embodied the emergent functionality by adding the twists of material to the sole.


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