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Sometimes, your expectations about a brand don’t meet the reality. Imagining the Aston Martin office full of James Bond style men polishing rosewood dashboards and then seeing just another corporate office. Or Fosters beer being brewed by fun loving Australians when, in fact, it’s a South African owned brand brewed in Manchester… Cadbury’s being just like the Willy Wonka factory…
So it is with Nike. All that coolness associated with the brand, you’d expect some awesome things to be happening at their headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Well, thankfully there’s no disappointment here; just really, really, really cool stuff going on in their ‘Innovation Lab’
“(Nike) Lab scientists focus on physiology, biomechanics, perception and athlete performance to inform product development.”
There’s also this video which shows Mo Farah and Melissa Bishop putting the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 through it’s paces. This is now Mo’s training shoe of choice! (You can buy these direct from Nike here)
The lab is focused on several key areas:
With the use of environmental chambers, Nike physiologists are able to bring the heat of Rio de Janeiro or the frost of Sochi to Beaverton. Both athletes and the specially designed sweating mannequin known as “Hal” (a life-sized anatomical model) are tested in these chambers, allowing Nike physiologists to conduct critical thermoregulation research. The goal of this research is to create footwear and apparel solutions that lower an athlete’s body temperature and reduce his or her energy expenditure, thereby allowing him or her to train longer and harder.
Biomechanics are also a critical area of study at the NSRL. One way Nike scientists can measure the body’s movement is with a sports science visualization tool. This tool generates a 3D rendering of an athlete in motion, delivering key data and insights that inform designer decisions.
The newly updated Motion Capture Lab provides an alternative way for NSRL scientists to study the body in motion. High-speed video cameras collect video at upwards of 30,000 hertz, which is 1,000 times that of standard video cameras. This state-of-the-art technology enables Nike scientists to understand at a microscopic level how a shoe is performing for an athlete.
“Our function is to provide knowledge and insights. We are the global repository for the science of human performance and potential.” — Matthew Nurse, Senior Director of the Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab