Ice skates haven't changed much in 5,000 years. Whether they're made of leather and sharpened whalebone or carbon fiber and stainless steel, every one of them consists of a boot, a blade and something to hold them together. To make his Launch Skates, Blois had a prototype builder insert two compression springs into the hollow plastic blade holders on a pair of battered hockey skates and then attach the springs to the blades (one at the toe, one at the heel). When the skater begins his stride, the springs compress and the blade slides a few millimeters up into the holder. As he lifts his foot, the springs release their stored energy, and the blade slides to its original position, giving the skater an extra push off the ice.