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article imageThese Boots Were Made for 22 M.P.H.

By Steve in the UK     Mar 18, 2007 in Technology
Mr. Gordeyev dreamed in 1974 of being able to run faster and jump higher without getting tired so he invented a gasoline-powered boot that looks like pogo sticks that strap to your shins. But unlike the Segway, the American-invented self-balancing scooter
But rather than being a great success his invention became classified as a Russian military secret until 1994. But as Russian government officials, scientists and economists turn they focusing to generate new sources of growth to diversify the country’s economy away from oil, the time may have come for the gasoline-powered boot to hit the market.
They are now being held up as a symbol of Russia’s deep and rich scientific traditions and the country’s inability to convert that talent into a useful commercial product.
Although it was seen to have great promise there is no way for the inventor to meet the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs need to develop his product to bring it to the commercial market.
Mr. Gordeyev and his partners imagined growing rich by selling their invention but instead, the company they formed in 1994 after the boots were declassified, went bust in 2006.
Russia also has other examples of good ideas later bungled in the process of commercialization. The Russian inventor of the Tetris video game was unable to patent his invention, and thus lost out on huge amounts of money. Russian engineers invented submersible pumps for oil wells, but failed to invest in their development; now Russian companies buy Western models from Halliburton.
“Venture capital firms are starting to work here, but as a rule, if something comes to their attention it is an exception,” said Igor R. Belousov, a Hewlett-Packard executive who coordinates the company’s research at Russian universities.
Russian Universities have a major problem in that the outside world only ever hears about them when one of they students hacks into any major western bank, government office or the latest computer hacking program going around the internet gets traced back to them. This make the venture capitalists set up away from the center of technology development resulting in inventors like Mr Gordeyev from getting the funding he need to development what could be a world wide success.
For now, though, the boots remain a curiosity, without the wider distribution their owners hoped for.
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