Adidas is taking product testing to whole new dimension. Literally.
November 6, 2019
COMMENTS

Adidas announced its multi-year partnership with the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space – CASIS, to explore the boundaries of product innovation, human performance and sustainability.

The initial phase of the partnership focuses on product innovation, and with the support of the ISS National Lab and technologies developed by NASA, adidas will become the first brand to test footwear innovation in the extreme conditions of space.  adidas’ coveted Boost technology is scheduled to be tested without the distraction of gravity – which could influence the performance and comfort of existing models and enhance innovation of new products.

adidas soccer balls delivered by the NASA-contracted SpaceX CRS-18 cargo mission earlier this year have been tested in a series of experiments aimed to extend understanding of flight characteristics beyond an Earth-based wind tunnel. Depth in spherical aerodynamics will enable more design freedom for panel shape and texture.

In future phases, adidas also plans to research elements such as human performance and sustainability while leveraging the space station. Insights from the strenuous physical training regimen developed for astronauts to endure the harshest of conditions could also allow adidas to apply potential learnings to athletes.

Space provides the ultimate testing ground to maximize material usage and value within extreme conditions and confined environments. Future research on the space station applied to adidas’ Loop Creation Process for circular manufacturing could help advance sustainable creation and recreation methods applicable to Earth.

Christine Kretz, VicePresident of Program and Partnerships of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, explained how the unique conditions of space provide the ideal environment to discover the unknown. For example, microgravity is the only condition in which we can observe specific experiments like the behavior of a spinning soccer ball without interrupting airflow and external supports holding it in place. Having control of certain variables allows us to conduct tests and collect insightsthat aren’t possible on Earth.

adidas will send its signature Boost pellets and footwear to the ISS National Lab on board a future SpaceX cargo mission, with testing to begin as early as 2020.  Astronauts onboard the station will execute experiments without the distraction of Earth’s gravity to uncover whether it’s possible to produce Boost midsoles with regions of different particle sizes– something that scientists theorize could optimize footwear performance and comfort.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2017, 2016. and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
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