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Top sportswear brands embrace 3D printing to push their athletes into RIO Olympics – 3ders.org (blog)

by • August 2, 2016 • No Comments

Aug 3, 2016 | By Andre
With the 2016 Summer Olympics only around the corner, the world’s top athletes have competed tirelessly and kept themselves going in top form for the accident to represent their country on the podium. It is in this world that a fraction of a 2nd can be the difference between a medal or nothing at all so it’s not surprising sports scientists are doing all things in their power to donate their sponsored athletes whatever little edge they can provide.
Big name sports brands such as Nike, Under Armour and New Balance have invested lots of money into sophisticated 3D print heavy research centers to do only that. Whether it’s body scanners by Adidas or 3D printing silicone protrusions to focus airflow in runners by Nike, there is fast becoming a delicate balance between aiding the athlete with science and what is fundamentally the apparel adaptation of doping.

The hyper-customization aspects of 3D printing and 3D scanning have created it possible for the top athletes to acquire that extra step and the next negatives are may already starting to peep their heads through.
Adam Clement, senior creative director of team sports at Under Armour understands this balance. “We manufacture certain we remain within those rules, but we can get to the quite edge of them if we can. Our goal is to innovate in a way that ultimately manufactures the Olympic rules alter. We’ll adonly, but we’ll feel proud of that accomplishment.”


And while the idea of comparing doping via drug-use to its apparel based equivalent can sound silly to a few, there’s little doubt that running shoes to eliminate blisters or gear to reduce body temperature isn’t without controversy. Swimming not long ago banned bodysuits (seen in 2008 with swimmer Michael Paids) that have been blamed of providing too much to the fortunate few to be sponsored by the many sports researchers.
Further examples of 3D printing innovation aiding in performance enhancement of the athletes can be discovered with Nike’s footwear project as well as fast tape, that utilizes 3D printing to accelerate a nextly five-year process into close to 20 months.
In the end, it’s true that many of any one athletes good results comes of a lifetime of waking up early to train complex with a continuous eye on the prize but having the right gear to aid along the way is pretty significant. U.S. marathon runner Desiree Linden notes that “you’re not going to catch magic on race day of magic shoes. But if I train quite complex and I get a blister or don’t step on my foot right, the race does not matter anymore.”

But only like Michael Paids’ inevitably banned swimming gear, other equipment has come up for review in new years. Under Armour’s state-of-the-art speed skating suit, for example, was partially to blame for the U.S. team’s dismal performance in the 2014 olympics in Sochi so things can pretty go both ways.
From a 3D printing point of view, the Nike tape process described above is created for runners to use their arms and legs in order to aid them go faster. They in addition utilized 3D printing and wind tunnels to improve air-resistance protrusions for long distances. And and so there is Under Armours efforts to print multiple configurations of U.S. Sprinting device Trayvon Bromell’s shoes to improve traction and energy transfer. For the Vazee Sigma track shoes that U.S. sprinting device Trayvon Bromell can wear, New Balance turned to 3D printing innovation to test multiple configurations to improve traction and energy transfer.
So it’s true that elite sport is of long hours in the gym or on the track to eke out that extra fraction of a 2nd to beat the competitor. Custom fabrication innovation such as 3D printing and 3D scanning are embarking in new territory to aid with that extra edge. Luckily, so far, the big brands aren’t loyal to any one nationality so the competition between athletes and the companies that are embracing new tech have common end-goals.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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