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"A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."
- Theodore Sturgeon

Pedomotive  
  A kind of stilt-like leg extenders; take longer strides, get there faster. Extreme sports gear.  

It sounds like he is talking about drywall stilts, adjustable leg extensions worn by drywall installers. If you can imagine adding some kind of spring-loaded (or power-assisted) addition to this basic device - you've got a pedomotive. I'll bet that somewhere, some guy has tried it (I'm betting he wound up in the E.R.).

A constable from the Shanghai police, legs strapped into a pedomotive, was coming down the street with the tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices, escorted by a couple of power-skating Ashantis.
From The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam Books in 1995
Additional resources -

Pedomotive is a word meaning driven by the feet; it was used to describe a variety of pedal-driven bicycles in the nineteenth century. It's incredible that the first pedal-driven bicycle in production ( the Michaux boneshaker) cost over $300 in 1870 (about $3000 today); people bought them because they really did increase mobility.

This sort of gear can also be worn for extreme sports enthusiasts - you can even do flips in them. Be sure to take a look at Poweriser Extreme Sports Gear - it's a real-life pedomotive!

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Diamond Age
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to The Diamond Age
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

Pedomotive-related news articles:
  - Poweriser: Extreme Sports Gear from The Diamond Age
  - Race Into The Future With Bionic Boots

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