Product, Service & Design Innovation
Adidas Uses Light, Oxygen to Revolutionize Additive Manufacturing, Sports Industry

Just days after Reebok announced plans to introduce a plant-based, compostable shoe later this year, Adidas has launched a new piece of performance footwear featuring midsoles crafted with light and oxygen.

Futurecraft 4D utilizes Digital Light Synthesis technology, which was pioneered by Silicon Valley-based tech company Carbon. The technology uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric products. It takes the concept of additive manufacturing to the next level and has allowed Adidas to eliminate the process of traditional prototyping or molding, as well as 3D printing.

“Despite the influence of technology to improve almost every 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. Futurecraft 4D is evidence of that,” said Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Co-Founder and CEO at Carbon.

The company analyzed its library of running data to shape functional zones into a midsole design crafted through Digital Light Synthesis. The process allows Adidas to address the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability and comfort with one single component. Carbon’s programmable resin platform offers unparalleled performance with respect to material durability and elastomeric responsiveness. An initial 5,000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D shoes will be available at retail in fall/winter 2017, with the ultimate goal of creating 100,000 pairs by the end of 2018.

“Our partnership with Adidas will serve as an ongoing testament to how the digital revolution has reached the global manufacturing sector, changing the way physical goods are designed, engineered, made and delivered,” added Dr. DeSimone.

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