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FitStation 3D Technology Used to Create Personalized Running Shoes Based on Biomechanics

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[Image: Superfeet]

It was only a few months ago that HP hit the ground running with FitStation, a platform powered by its 3D technologies that’s delivering individualized, custom-fitted footwear. The process uses individual 3D feet scanning and dynamic gait analysis to provide recommendations for off-the-shelf shoes and insoles, and also creates 3D printed insoles and customized footwear. HP’s Sprout and Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology work with the FitStation platform, and the company also works with partners in the sportswear and footwear apparel industry, including its US FitStation distributor Superfeet and DESMA.

Now, Brooks Running Company, which sells its performance footwear, apparel, sports bras, and accessories in over 50 countries, is teaming up with HP and Superfeet to develop the first performance running shoe that’s based on a person’s unique biomechanics.

The FitStation scan setup: 3D scanner with block and gait analysis mat [Image: Sarah Goehrke for 3DPrint.com]

Brooks, which mostly focuses on running, will leverage its own Run Signature and HP’s FitStation, which aligns with Run Signature’s principles of creating footwear that will work with a runner’s natural motion, to deliver the most personalized running footwear ever to be placed on your feet.

“Brooks is committed to providing the fit, feel and ride each runner wants. The ability to give an individual a personalized shoe based on his or her unique biomechanics is a game changer,” said Brooks CEO Jim Weber. “It is a compelling offering for the runner who is interested in tip-of-the-spear technology and a totally tuned experience. As part of our focus on reinventing performance running, we will continue to push the envelope to bring runners innovations that help them uniquely tailor their run.”

Brooks works hard to provide personalized running experiences, and will enhance its Run Signature with the help of its new partnerships, as FitStation uses 3D scans and in-depth analysis to determine a runner’s own motion path and create a unique, holistic digital profile that combines a person’s biomechanics, experience, and fit.

The 3D printed heelcap of a Superfeet insole [Image: Sarah Goehrke for 3DPrint.com]

John Rauvola, the President and CEO of Superfeet, said, “Having the leader in running footwear leverage FitStation and our U.S. manufacturing facilities to create the most individualized running shoe on the market is momentous. Not only will it change what people expect from their running experience, it is also an important step in making a positive difference in people’s lives by delivering the best underfoot support possible. This is the beginning of the individualized fit revolution.”

The intense analysis completed by FitStation is translated into specific shoe requirements, using the 3D foot scans to make the proper lasts to build the shoe around. Superfeet then manufactures the personalized shoe at its Washington state headquarters on a DESMA polyurethane injection molding machine, making sure it is, according to Brooks, “tailored to the specific shape of the runner’s foot.”

Variable PU injection, with direct attach capabilities, uses a runner’s personal preferences, foot pressure measurements, and a movement analysis of their joints to create personalized midsole requirements that have several tuned zones. All of these factors are taken into account to make sure that runners can achieve the motion path and running experience they want.

“FitStation by HP is changing what personalization means—from the in-store experience to the final product. In collaboration with Brooks and Superfeet, we are delivering truly made-to-measure footwear with a lot size of one. Digitalization of biometric data opens an opportunity to ultimate individualization with the speed and cost efficiency of mass production,” said Ed Ponomarev, General Manager of FitStation and Business Development HP Inc. “HP brings deep experience in computing, scanning and technology integration at scale to deliver a revolutionary digital manufacturing platform, creating individualized products that are available to anyone—from casual runners to elite athletes.”

This week, Brooks is demonstrating what its new partnerships are capable of at The Running Event in Austin, Texas, where it will create personalized Brooks Levitate RS shoes for some select attendees. These new shoes, created with the help of HP’s 3D printing technology and FitStation, will be available through special order at select retail partners (list available here) in June of 2018.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Images provided by Brooks Running Company unless otherwise noted]

US Marines' 'Ripper Lab' used to manufacture 3D printed 'Nibbler' drones in Middle East

Oct 2, 2017 | By Tess

A U.S. Marine Corps task force has set up a 3D printing lab on the ground in the Middle East, using it to 3D print quadcopter drones, tools, medical supplies, and more. Dubbed the “Ripper Lab,” the facility is allowing the task force to print devices and replacement parts on-demand and at a lower cost than shipping them in.

Over the past year, the U.S. Marine Corps has made significant strides with the adoption of additive manufacturing technologies, developing 3D printed components for future smart trucks, experimenting with 3D printed munitions, and perhaps most significantly, manufacturing low-cost drones.

Just months ago, a Marine Corps battalion evaluated the X-FAB system—a self-contained, mobile additive manufacturing lab which consists of four 3D printers, one 3D scanner, and CAD software. The X-FAB lab, which is still in development, would enable devices such as surveillance drones to be produced on-demand and, importantly, on the ground.

As another Marine Corps task force based in the Middle East has shown, 3D printing is already in use and is proving to be a critical technology in the fight against ISIS.

The Marines of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command recently established an on-the-ground 3D printing facility equipped with 3D printers, materials, CAD software, etc. in the Middle East.

Named “Ripper Lab,” the 3D printing test operation was set up to see how well 3D printing could support the troops. A first of its kind, the 3D printer lab is operated by a team of 48 and has been used to manufacture tools such as wrenches, medical supplies, various replacement parts, and a number of quadcopter drones known as “Nibblers.”

These 3D printed drones, of which there are already about 25, are designed for increasing “situational awareness” on patrols. The adaptable UAVs are capable of flying for 20 to 25 minutes at a time, and can be used to monitor and protect the U.S. military’s positions from drones sent by the enemy.

Of course, there are still a few setbacks with the technology. For one, the Nibbler drones cost about $2,000 each to 3D print, quite a bit more than their off-the-shelf counterparts (which reportedly go for about $500 apiece). But the cost difference doesn’t seem to outweigh the advantages of in-situ manufacturing and the easy and cheap production of replacement parts.

(Images: U.S. Marine Corps)

“Across the entire Marine Corps… it takes time to get the training and then the resources, i.e., money to buy the materials and 3D printers and things like that,” said  Col. Bill Vivian, the commander of the 7th Marine Regiment which led the 3D printing operation. “But 3D printers are coming to each installation in the Marine Corps and that’s starting to unfold now, so I think those possibilities are getting close.”

Vivian added that since 3D printing has been adopted in the Marine Corps, he has seen a lot of interest amongst the troops: “Since we engaged and we let Marines at the lowest level know we’re wrestling with this new technology, we found out a lot of them were doing it anyway—several Marines had their own 3D printers. And so just taking advantage of natural talents we have out there, we were able to pull them in and use them to our advantage. It helped retention: Marines were very excited and we were able to do some things faster than we otherwise would have been able to.”

Currently, Vivian and his task force are working on improving the 3D printed Nibbler drone by integrating higher-quality cameras and increasing the vehicle’s flying time and range.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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