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adidas unveils footwear crafted with light and oxygen

07 April 2017

adidas unveils Futurecraft 4D, the world’s first high-performance footwear featuring midsoles crafted with light and oxygen using Digital Light Synthesis.

Image courtesy of adidas

Futurecraft 4D is a fruition of adidas Futurecraft - the brand’s journey to define the future of craftsmanship through exploring new technology, design and collaboration in order to provide the best for each athlete. Futurecraft 4D’s midsole is born out of 17 years of running data, and brought to functional reality through a pioneering digital footwear component creation process that eliminated the necessity of traditional prototyping or moulding. With the new technology, adidas now operates on a completely different manufacturing scale and sport performance quality, officially departing from 3D printing, bringing additive manufacturing in the sports industry into a new dimension. 

Digital Light Synthesis is a breakthrough process pioneered by Carbon that uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric products. Futurecraft 4D is adidas’s first application of the Digital Light Synthesis, and represents the brand’s step into athlete-data driven design and manufacturing. With an ambition to create the ultimate running shoe for all, adidas analysed its library of running data to shape functional zones into a midsole design crafted through Digital Light Synthesis. Unlike any traditional manufacturing technology, Digital Light Synthesis allows adidas to precisely address the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability and comfort with one single component. Carbon’s programmable resin platform offers performance with respect to material durability and elastomeric responsiveness. 5,000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be available at retail in winter 2017 with further scaling in the coming seasons. 

Digital Light Synthesis was created by Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based tech company working to revolutionise product creation through hardware, software, and molecular science. This new take on manufacturing enables adidas designers, sports scientists and engineers to bring even the most intricate designs of their imagination into physical reality. More importantly, it overcomes shortcomings of conventional additive manufacturing methods (i.e. 3D printing) - such as: low production speed and scale, poor surface quality, and colour and material restrictions. Without these limitations posed by traditional production methods, adidas can now bring the best and most innovative products to consumers faster than ever. 

Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Carbon Co-Founder and CEO, said “despite the influence of technology to improve almost every other aspect of our lives, for eons the manufacturing process has followed the same four steps that make up the product development cycle – design, prototype, tool, produce. Carbon has changed that; we’ve broken the cycle and are making it possible to go directly from design to production. We’re enabling engineers and designers to create previously impossible designs, and businesses to evolve their offerings, and Futurecraft 4D is evidence of that."

Video courtesy of adidas.


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