3D scanning is behind an initiative to bring NFL players customized sports shoes. Technology company HP has announced that the NFL has adopted its FitStation platform to provide football players with personalized cleat shoes.
All 32 NFL teams have taken up the FitStation platform, which combines 3D scanning, 3D software, and body data. It will be available to football players from next season.
Although these particular shoes are not yet being 3D printed, HP believe footwear companies understand the impact 3D printing technology such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion will have on their future business opportunities. In particular an HP spokesperson told 3D Printing Industry that, “the industry and consumers [are] looking to optimize performance and personal style. As we are already demonstrating with HP’s FitStation and SuperFeet as well as Australian customer iOrthotics, footwear will undoubtedly continue to emerge as a key vertical for HP’s 3D printing business.”
HP FitStation technology
The FitStation process begins in one of 14 brick-and-mortar retail stores, where high-quality 3D foot scanning calculates the customer’s foot length, width, and arch height.
Next, dynamic data is gathered as the customer runs along a pressure-sensitive pathway. The FitStation platform captures up to 500 foot-pressure and dynamic gait measurements per second.
This data is then analyzed and used to create a unique digital profile. HP FitStation’s proprietary algorithms then match the digital profile of a customer to previously scanned 3D images of participating football cleat manufacturers including Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.
HP FitStation meets NFL health and safety
The HP FitStation was selected by the NFL’s Musculoskeletal Committee, a body that analyzes injury data, studies injury mechanisms and works towards injury prevention to enhance player health and safety.
Dr. Richard Kent, a professor at the University of Virginia and a member of the NFL Musculoskeletal Committee explained that:
“A shoe is not just about performance, it is an important piece of protective equipment. In the NFL, lower limb injuries are responsible for a significant amount of player time lost.”
Kent added that “a better-designed shoe can be a protective mechanism against injuries such as turf toe, Lisfranc fractures, and high ankle sprains.”
Since the FitStation matches a cleat precisely to a player’s anatomy and dynamics, it can reduce the damage against these injuries.
“The NFL’s number one priority is continuing to enhance player safety and performance and by utilizing HP’s technology to give our players personalized cleat recommendations we are able to continue that mission,” commented Renie Anderson, Senior VP of Sponsorship and Partnership Management for the NFL.
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Featured image shows HP matches a customer to a personalized cleat selection. Photo via HP.