During Nike's big reveal of its Nature Amplified products this week, the sportswear giant also opened up its state-of-the-art Nike Sport Research Lab to visitors for the first time. The experiment-driven data collection facility in Portland, Oregon, is where all Nike prototypes are tested, developed and adjusted, using its stock of professional athletes.
The 16,000 square foot research building features a running track and basketball court that are both rigged up to monitoring technologies, which allow scientists and engineers to collect and study every statistic imaginable that could affect a sportsperson's performance.
On the running track, 3D motion sensors generate avatars to visualise the biomechanics and physiology of a runner's gait and posture. In the basketball court, pressure plates measure the force exerted by a player before he leaps into a dunk, while advanced motion capture technology allows coaches and scientists to monitor every twist and turn of the ankle or foot in mid-air.
In anticipation of the upcoming winter and summer Olympics, Nike has built two environmental chambers that are able to replicate the frost of Sochi or the humidity of Rio, right in the heart of Oregon. Each result in turn informs the development of apparel, footwear and equipment, which are then repeatedly tried and tested until they hit the mark.