Published on July 31st, 2015 | by ananya kondiparthy
Nike Manufactures 3D Printed “Cooling Hoody” to cool down Athletes
If manufacturing is the backbone of any company, then innovation is the fuel that drives it. And the best way to know innovation is to know what’s best for your customers. The world’s most preferable company [read: dedicated] are going to bring customization as a key to innovation, for their customer, even though that can be a long way. And to represent their brand they naturally hire brand ambassadors who are the best in their field.
Nike is among the most trusted sports brand who are into innovating sports related product for decades. The world’s top sports apparel brand shares the secret of their success to its Nike Sports Research Lab which spends countless hours in knowing the best needs for a human body.
Athletes usually pour water on their heads which increases their performance level by cooling their nevers. To give it a hi-tech touch Nike turned to 3D printing for designing a highly innovative cooling system for the U.S. Olympic champion and decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton.
A ten-event decathlon takes place over two days and to keep their players recover faster Nike designed the cooling hood that the athletes can wear as a hoodie in between breaks for a quicker recovery and increase their performance level.
The inner layers of the cooling hood is designed in such a way such that it can retain water without any leaking. Since the tissue around the face is more or less 5 times more sensitive than other parts of the body, having a cooling hood during sports events will actually prove to be useful for the athletes.
“A perfect scenario would be to feel like you’ve just started on every event. The more you do, the more attrition you experience. Rather than realizing immediate physiological gain, the challenge is more about reducing the mental attrition from the two days to maximize each event,” explains Eaton. “After asking questions about current recovery techniques, the conversation prompted me to ask myself: Why does it feel good, after running, to pour a bottle of water over your head? I don’t know the physiological answer, but the fact that it does feel better makes me perform better. ”
Previously, Nike introduced PreCool Vests, that cools the core of the athlete. The latest cooling cap [as it’s also called] has a similar theme, only that it’s meant for the head and this one was made to specifically suit the head of the decathlon champion during live competitions.
However, it’s a fact that every face is different. So to have a customized fit for Eaton’s head Nike chose to go for 3D scanning technology and get a perfect scanning of Eaton’s head for designing purpose.
“The insight Ashton gave us was that overheating was a challenge, especially during the high jump and pole vault when there was so much time spent on the field, and he asked how we could speed up his recovery between his short, explosive action. It was an interesting challenge coming directly from one of the world’s greatest athletes so we, literally, took the challenge head-on,” says Sandy Bodecker, VP of Special Projects, Nike Innovation.“Nike’s culture is one of invention and this is invention with purpose: making athletes better,” he adds. “Working collaboratively with the best athletes means faster problem solving and allows us to bring the future, faster.”