Athletes are becoming faster, stronger and better in their respective fields with a mix of hard work, fierce determination and some seriously cutting-edge technology. From software that analyzes the perfect golf swing to shoes that directly capitalize on unique abilities of their wearer, technology is changing the face of sports.
Design Night, an event series held on the first Thursday of every month at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, allows guests to explore different themes – such as biomimicry, light, or robotics – that challenge the conventionally narrow definition of design. June’s Design Night, “Faster. Stronger. Tech-ier,” invited guests to learn more about how design and technology are transforming the way we play and compete.
The over 400 attendees at the sold-out event were treated to a presentation from Dr. Matthew Nurse, Director of Nike Sports Research Lab (NSRL). The NSRL is a multidisciplinary scientific research group focusing on biomechanics, human physiology, and sensory perception. Their mission is to drive performance innovation through knowledge and insights gained from a scientific understanding of athletes and athletic performance. Nurse talked about the fact that we are now directly able to objectively quantify athletes in motion and are really only limited by our imaginations. Nike taps into this knowledge to create cutting edge technology.
To entertain the visitors, Nike brought some of the technology they’re using at NSRL including:
- Phantom high speed video cameras that allowed people to perform activities such as jumping and punching and view the incredibly detailed results in slow motion.
- A pressure measurement system that let people walk and jump on a pad to see a graphical representation of the different pressure points on their feet.
- The company’s first-ever football cleat built using a 3D printing technology called selective lasersintering, which was used in last month’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Guests could also experience extreme aerodynamics in a virtual wind tunnel, watch an athlete perform in a full-body motion capture suit by Xsens, learn how to tie knots and make a paracord rescue bracelet, perform feats of strength and agility (without being very strong or agile) and ride the stationary bicycles that provided 100% of the power for DJ Huckleberry Spinn’s sound system.
There will be no July Design Night due to the 4th of July Holiday, but be sure to get your tickets to August’s Music-themed Design Night when tickets go on sale July 1, 2013.