Under Armour’s new innovation lab has sneaker-making robots and high-tech body scanners. Tech Insider.

Date: June 28, 2016
Source: Tech Insider. By Leanna Garfield
Headline: The process of making athletic shoes and clothing has changed very little in the last half-century. Apart from industrial-sized machines that speed up production, many factories’ operations look pretty similar.

Under Armour wants to reinvent the process in its giant design and manufacturing test center, which opened June 28. Called the Lighthouse, the 140,000-square-foot space will act as an extension of UA’s Baltimore headquarters.

The goal of the new lab is to re-think how sneakers and athletic apparel are made, Under Armour’s Head of Innovation, Kevin Haley, tells Tech Insider.

Tech Insider got an exclusive look inside the lab, which features a massive 3D body scanner and robots that make shoes.

The Lighthouse also has a massive 3D body scanner that takes photos of athletes in action. (Most traditional scanners only work when you’re standing still.) Using 54 cameras that shoot seven frames per second, the scanner makes 3D avatars.

 

Designers can use the avatars to study every crevice of an athlete’s body and make custom athletic wear just for them.

 

For example, using 3D scans of tennis star Sloane Stephens, UA’s designers can look at how a shirt will drape when she swings her racket. Since her body’s shape changes based on how much she’s training, the team can anticipate how Stephen’s clothing will fit and adjust accordingly.

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