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Inside the adidas Innovation Team Test Lab

January 18, 2011

Take an inside look at what goes down behind the scenes in adidas' biomechanical testing lab.

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Inside the adidas Innovation Team Test Lab
Elyesia Davis, an Adidas researcher, explains the process of creating the perfect basketball shoe. Each shoe is tested on and off basketball athletes to create the perfect shoe.
My name is Elyesia Davis. I'm a sports researcher with the Adidas innovation team. As a sports researcher I focus on basketball athlete in the game from a biomechanics perspective. Right here, we're in the research and testing lab space or main lab area where we do the testing of our athletes and our foot ware. The two main types of testing that we do here. The first is human testing or athlete testing and that's when you get real athletes to test our product and interact in our space. We try and create as best we can a game environment. The second type of testing machine testing or mechanical standard testing of all our product.
There's different squares on the floor and those are all different force plates that we use to measure how much force the basketball players and other athletes put into the ground and in the shoe when their doing different movement. We have a recess in the floor where we actually put high speed video cameras so we can look at the planter surface of the < a href="http://www.stack.com/sneakers">shoe and see how the rubber and different traction is interacting with the surface.
So we're placing these reflective markers on our basketball athletes and what this does is it allows us to landmark the position of their body in 3-D space. SO that's all these cameras you can see above us. What's it's doing is tracking the position of these markers and then triangulating their position so we can coordinates of where their body is. Unlike the ones mounted above here, this we get a real image of the player and this again gives us a really detailed picture of what the foot looks like.
So we just saw one of our basketball players do one of our standard performance testing where we look at the stability of the shoe and we can see what that looks like once we bring that into our computer and start processing. This is the basketball player cutting on the force plate and this arrow here that you see is how much force is actually pushing into the ground based on their position, their speed and then how much force their putting into the ground you can estimate how much torque is happening at the different joints. And then we can also measure how different shoes or different pieces of apparel that will change that force. For any new basketball shoes that our company makes, we tested in this lab space both on athletes and as you saw today and in all of our standard machine testing. So that's for every single new shoe that Adidas makes. We look at kind of this area of the shoe and we see how much this area is over the bottom unit. So that gives us an idea of how supportive the shoe is on that lateral side. In the first prototype phase if we identify areas that could be improved. We give that feedback to the design and development team. They go off and make the changes and we'll get a second sample back and we'll redo the testing to see if those recommendations we improved. We put it through a rigorous process of around 15 parameters that it needs to pass in order for it to go onto the shelf.




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