Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Launch Skates - Kinetic powered ice skates! project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
CA$ 2,496 pledged of CA$ 29,000 goal
backers
By Launch Designworks
CA$ 2,496 pledged of CA$ 29,000 goal
backers

About this project

Launch Skates kicking up snow - photo by Andrej Kopac for PopSci.  Launch Kickstarter video image - rendering by PopSci.
Launch Skates kicking up snow - photo by Andrej Kopac for PopSci. Launch Kickstarter video image - rendering by PopSci.

watch the REUTERS video: 


watch the DAILY PLANET video (on Discovery Channel) with Lucas Lawson skating on one of the early hand-made prototypes:

More speed.  Less fatigue.  Less strain on joints.

Launch Skates are high compression spring ice skates (blade holders) for hockey and pleasure skating now, as well as speed skating and figure skating in the near future: 

  • The Launch skate blade holder (pair) has fully enclosed independent front and rear suspension with high compression springs
  • Currently compatible with hockey and pleasure skate boots (with easy installation identical to installing ice blade holders without springs)
  • Kinetic energy and gravity, together with weight and motion applied by the skater results in a faster and more comfortable skating experience with less fatigue
Actual Launch Skates blade holder showing movement of blade in holder (boot not included)
Actual Launch Skates blade holder showing movement of blade in holder (boot not included)

“Want an extra boost on the ice? Tonight we feature the Launch Skates - spring loaded hockey skates!” 

Daily Planet (Discovery Channel Canada)

“A Canadian inventor has developed ice skates that will greatly increase the speed of skaters on the rink.” 

Reuters 

Popular Science Inventions of the Year Awards – Launch Skates in Top 10!

“With high-compression springs in the blade [holders], skaters will be able to take advantage of the kinetic energy stored . . . "

Scientific American

 See all the Press on the Launch Skates website.

Score the Launch Skates theme song "Redline" by Canadian composer, musician and producer Stephan Lukacic.  (high quality digital download/copy)

Launch Skates project video and theme song recorded in HD and best heard with stereo headphones.

Launch Skates "Ceramic Skate Sharpener".  Hand-held ceramic steel skate sharpener.  Very fast and easy to use.  Great for use between regular sharpenings.

Launch Skates "Skate Protectors" (pair).  Terry cloth interior for absorption.  Bottoms reinforced with webbing.  Poly-cotton exterior for durability.

Launch Skates Blade Holders (pair). Nylon reinforced injection moulded plastic blade holders with high compression springs and high carbon steel skate blades or "runners" with nine-foot radius. Size 272mm (for size 7.5, 8 or 8.5 skate boots, boots not included).  Final production colour for holders: hockey white.  (see Canada/US/Euro/U.K. boot size conversions below under "Advance FAQ")

Lucas Lawson
Lucas Lawson

It’s definitely going to make players skate faster - that’s for sure.  On the turns, you can feel - as you put the weight into your skate and as you move from stride to stride - it propels you to the next crossover . . . it’s really cool!”

Lucas Lawson, Video Coach - Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens) and former Professional Hockey Player

____________________________________________________________________

I did feel a distinct propulsion forward as I skated, particularly when I started from a dead stop – acceleration was great . . . I think players starting out with these [Launch skates] at a younger age would even be more apt to consider them as their regular skates.” 

Duane Lewis, Commissioner – Central Hockey League (US)

____________________________________________________________________

“I want a pair of these (Launch) skates!!  They give me more ‘hop’ on crossovers and make me skate faster out of my turns.  I really like them!” 

NHL Player  (actual testimonial - name not shown due to player endorsement restrictions)

____________________________________________________________________

"I understand more testing needs to be done, but even with the boot size being too large on the prototype pair I felt lighter and had a quicker jump - especially on cross-overs.  The three elements to skating are balance, strength (power) and technique.  Now [with Launch Skates] you can include a fourth . . . technology.”

David Trombley, Hockey Specialist (Hockey Extreme) and former NHL Player

____________________________________________________________________

"We have seen technology change the game of hockey significantly over the last 10 years.  As the game continually gets faster and more dynamic the need for speed has become a priority.  After using Launch skates and the new spring technology I believe we could make players accelerate quicker by creating more power and energy in each stride while at the same time minimizing fatigue.  Really, the perfect combination for becoming an elite skater.  I really noticed that extra jump in my stride both in straight line acceleration and crossing over.  To gain even a one step advantage over our opponent may be the difference between scoring that big goal or making a big play catching your man coming back.  I look forward to seeing the final product!"

Kelly Askew, Professional Skating Instructor, former Professional Hockey Player and Member of Team Canada

____________________________________________________________________

Bill Heath
Bill Heath

"I really like the prototype Launch skates and couldn't believe how quickly I got used to these new skates - even with a different and slightly larger boot.  I could definitely feel the spring forward from a dead stop and the skates felt more comfortable, with less pressure on my heels and the backs of my legs.  Turns felt sharper and with better balance compared with my regular skates.  Felt I was able to push off from the toe, or the front of the skate for more power - but the whole blade still seemed to be contacting the ice.  Being on my own skates right after the Launch skates made it more obvious that the Launch skates gave me a less rigid, faster and more comfortable skating experience." 

Bill Heath, Senior Instructor Hockey Extreme

(see Bill Heath in the Launch video by Reuters)  

____________________________________________________________________

"I enjoyed the opportunity to test the new prototype pair of Launch Skates.  The concept was very intriguing to me and I was excited to try them out.  There was a noticeable increase in my first step acceleration, which was a definite improvement over skates with traditional blade holders.  The shock absorbing qualities of the Launch holders were also very noticeable and since I'm typically on skates for up to 30 hours per week, it was a welcome change.  Although the non-static qualities of these holders took some getting used to, those same qualities will most certainly allow the skater to help stave off early fatigue and therefore the Launch Skates would make a great addition to any player's arsenal." 

Steve Phillips, Professional Hockey Instructor and former Professional Hockey Player

I have worked for years (with lots of help along the way) to bring Launch Skates where they are today, with a great deal of time and money already invested in prototyping, patents, trade marks and on-ice trials.  Kickstarter supporters are needed to realize the goal of creating injection moulds and actual production in required minimum quantities. 

by Michael Austin, Athletic Therapist
by Michael Austin, Athletic Therapist

“I am writing this letter in regards to the use of the “Launch” suspension skate and the benefits a hockey player would have in wearing this type of skate.

Hockey is a very fast game as players have to be able to perform at a high rate of speed and change direction with split second reaction time. The three elements that make a player perform well are speed, power and balance. Having these three functions and being able to perform them well is what separates the great skaters from the average ones.

The muscles of the quadriceps (front of leg) and hamstrings (back of leg), along with the plantar flexors (lower leg) and hip flexors enable a skater to develop power and speed. With the use of the “Launch” skate, the player is able to perform better as a skater and develop more powerful strides because he is able to add extra plantar flexion during the push-off. This gives the player the ability to stop and change direction faster in turning, or from a complete stop and start.

With the normal hockey skate, players are unable to perform this task as they cannot reach full extension of the plantar muscle or knee extensors as they would have to be almost on their toes to do this, thus throwing off their balance completely.

In closing I would like to say that not only would the “Launch” skate improve a player’s performance, but it would also reduce the injuries that players often complain about such as groin, knee, hip flexors and extensor injuries that are often caused by overuse or extension.”

Launch Skates spring powered blade holders are designed for male and female competitive and recreational hockey players in over 63 countries, as well as recreational skaters all over the world.  There is nothing like the feeling of skating on ice skates with Launch high compression spring blade holders. . . what a sensation.

Production has been arranged with an experienced OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) skate manufacturer, currently producing over 200,000 pairs of ice skates annually for the North American, European and Eastern European markets, as well as other markets/countries.  I have been working closely with the manager of the manufacturing company to meet their moulding specifications.

We initially met at the Let's Play Hockey Expo and this company stood
out amongst its peers. With my previous experience in the manufacturing industry I am confident that they will deliver a high quality product at a competitve price.

In addition to the original hand made prototype pairs, I have also developed the design using CNC and 3D printing technology.  The CNC machined working model can be seen in the Reuters and Daily Planet news segments and the 3D printed model pairs were used for on ice testing, in addition to initial testing with the hand made prototype pairs.

Launch Skates blade holder shown mounted on a CCM U+ pro boot (boot not included)
Launch Skates blade holder shown mounted on a CCM U+ pro boot (boot not included)
Here is one of the awesome and quite amazing 3D printing machines used to make the latest working prototype very strong plastic Launch blade holders.
Here is one of the awesome and quite amazing 3D printing machines used to make the latest working prototype very strong plastic Launch blade holders.

What an image of the prototype spring retainer caps being being made.  Art and function, courtesy of some prototyping expertise in Toronto by Rapid Parts, a company that also produced prototypes for the hugely successful Kickstarter project entitled "The Ubi".  Special thanks also to Trident Design in Grandview Heights, Ohio, USA and Nova Product Development in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This video shows how the rivets holding a blade holder to a boot are removed, to replace the blade holder.  The same riveting machine (at your local skate repair/installation shop) is used to install the Launch Skates spring suspension blade holders.

____________________________________________________________________

Advance FAQ

Q.  What size skate boots will the Launch Skates blade holders fit on?

A.  Sizes:  7.5 Men's Canada/US (Men's Europe 40 & U.K. 6.5, Women's Canada/US 8.5), 8 Men's Canada/US (Men's Europe 40.5 & U.K. 7, Women's Canada/US 9) and 8.5 Men's Canada/US (Men's Europe 41 & U.K. 7.5, Women's Canada/US 9.5)

Q.  Will more sizes be available?

A.  Yes.  More sizes will be available in the future and possibly during the Kickstarter campaign as a stretch goal.

Q.  What is the maximum recommended weight for a skater?

A.  Approx. 190 lbs.

Q.  Are the skate boots included?

A.  Not at the start of the Kickstarter campaign.  Swap out the boots from your existing skates, or buy your preferred skates to have the boots fitted properly, then swap out the blade holders for the Launch Skates blade holders. (It's possible during the KS campaign that a reward will be added which includes full skates with the Launch holders attached to skate boots, but this would be at a higher reward level cost.)

Q.  Where can I have the Launch Skates blade holders installed?

A.  Any skate shop can install the Launch holders - they attach with rivets to the bottom of each skate boot, same as traditional blade holders.  (see video above this section)

Here is an experienced and authorized Launch Skates installer in the Toronto, Canada area:

Majer Hockey, 4610 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON

Q.  Is a special skate sharpening machine required?

A.  No.  The Launch Skates blade holders are sharpened in the traditional way using standard skate sharpening machines at your local rink, skate shop, or wherever ice skates are sharpened.

Here's a video of one of the original/early Launch Skates prototype blade holders (mounted on a Bauer boot) being sharpened.

Risks and challenges

The majority of risks and challenges have been worked out in the past 3+ years of concentrated product development and parts sourcing. This is a very simple product to manufacture with only 4 main parts/components and these parts have been carefully sourced and tested. A very experienced and capable manufacturer (talked about further under "Manufacturing" above) has been lined up to start building the first moulds and then to start production of the Launch Skates spring blade holders.

Lead times have been given by the manufacturer and the goal is to have the Launch blade holders ready for shipping in March 2014, still in time for the skating season in many countries where ice hockey and pleasure skating are enjoyed.

There can be unexpected production and/or shipping delays, but everything possible will be done to keep any delay to a minimum and we'll keep all Kickstarters up to date about the production and the fulfillment of all the rewards.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.96

    Launch 1: Become an official supporter of the fastest skates on ice!! Reserve a place on the supporter wall of the Launch Skates website and receive exclusive backer only updates and information about any special offers in advance.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $10

    Launch 2: Receive everything in the "Launch 1" reward level, plus a digital download/copy of the Launch Skates theme song "Redline" by Canadian composer, musician and producer Stephan Lukacic. Plus receive a personal thank you note from the Inventor. (listen to the theme song below in the "Launch Skates Rewards" section)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $19

    Launch 3: Ceramic Skate Sharpener. Everything in the "Launch 2" reward level (Thanks!/Redline theme song), plus the Launch Skates ceramic skate sharpener (plus shipping - Canada $4 CAD, USA $8 CAD, Int'l $13 CAD)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $24

    Launch 4: Skate Blade Protectors. Everything in the "Launch 2" reward level (Thanks!/Redline theme song), plus a pair of the Launch Skates blade protectors (pair) (plus shipping - Canada $4 CAD, USA $8 CAD, Int'l $13 CAD)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 90 or more About $86

    Launch 5: Special price for early supporters. Everything in the "Launch 2" reward level (Thanks!/Redline theme song), plus a pair of the Launch Skates high compression spring blade holders (size 272 mm), in hockey white. (plus shipping - Canada $15 CAD, USA $20 CAD, Int'l $30 CAD)
    Note: Add on a Launch skate sharpener or skate protectors and get free shipping on these items!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 120 or more About $115

    Launch 6: (choose after "Launch 5" is sold out!) Missed being an early supporter, but still want to try Launch Skates. Everything in the "Launch 2" reward level (Thanks!/Redline theme song), plus a pair of the Launch Skates high compression spring blade holders (size 272 mm), in hockey white. (plus shipping - Canada $15 CAD, USA $20 CAD, Int'l $30 CAD)
    Note: Add on a Launch skate sharpener or skate protectors and get free shipping on these items!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $239

    Launch 7: Everything in the "Launch 4" reward level (Thanks!/Redline theme song/Launch skate guards), plus 1 of the first 15 production pairs of the Launch Skates high compression spring blade holders (size 272 mm), in hockey white, with number engraved or laser etched. Ships with certificate of authenticity signed by the Inventor.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 2,500 or more About $2,394

    Blast-off!: Everything in the "Launch 6" reward level, plus lunch with the Inventor in Toronto and an exclusive hour (less Zamboni time!) on ice at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto (former Maple Leaf Gardens) on one of the original prototype pairs of the Launch Skates. (travel expenses not included)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    CA$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (31 days)