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3D Technology And Sports Performance – The Key To Progress

Dario Tameu

Dario Tameu, Writer
@uxconnections

With the constant development of 3D technologies, more and more opportunities are emerging for the future of sports. Is “empathy” the ultimate key to progress?

3D Printing in sports can offer countless possibilities manufacturing-wise, such as perfectly ergonomic products and fully customised equipment. 

The results is a feeling of confidence and trust by the user. The athlete feels as the equipment can understand his qualities and improve them, reciprocally, the accessory seems able to feel empathy for the athlete.

The initial step of the process consists in the analysis of the athlete’s physical condition; afterwards, the item is produced via 3D printing technology. Eventually, researchers and companies involved in this sector will observe how their products perform in a competitive environment.

These products not only have the potential to improve performances, but they can also help athletes affected by injuries or disabilities to continue their practice. 

An interesting collaboration occurred between the Olympic rower Sara Bertolasi end Elmec Informatica. Despite her injury to the ischium, the athlete still managed to compete thanks to an ergonomic seat and trolley, designed by the company under her requests.

3D Printing in sports: reaching new levels

Early on, the application of 3D printing was much more limited, used for creating prototypes for mass production or minor parts of sports equipment. 

Nowadays, companies are starting to exploit the potential of this technology for a fully customised production, for athletes that have the willingness to put their trust on the line in order to make a difference.

Adidas Futurecraft 4D: Adidas designs a 3D printed sports shoe

As human beings, we naturally have physical limitations. This means that the margin of improvement for athletes’ performance will progressively decrease over time. 

Along with it, also our capability of setting new records. Alone, athletes would get closer and closer to an invisible boundary, that resides within us. 

Technology appears to be what will allow us to go beyond our limits, raising the level of competition even higher. New equipment and technologies like shoes made with 3D printing enabled athletes such as Eliud Kipchoge to exceed their limits and set new world records.

Eliud Kipchoge breaks two-hour marathon barrier

In the next few years, 3D printing could be one of the main protagonists of sports in the future, but there are many potentialities yet unexplored. 

It is just a matter of time, as long as competition exists so will progress.

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