Jan 6, 2016 | By Kira
A few months ago, New Balance announced that it would be utilizing 3D Systems’ SLS 3D printing technology to create a high performance, lightweight, 3D printed midsole for use in a brand new line of running shoes to be unveiled at the 2016 Boston Marathon. Shortly thereafter, New Balance announced a second partnership with tech design studio Nervous Systems, which created a program that could examine pressure data from a runner’s foot strike, and use that data to generate variable density cushioning throughout the 3D printed midsole, customizing the product to the wearers’ individual walking and running patterns.
Now, taking its mission to design the ultimate, tech-optimized 3D printed running shoe midsole to the next level, New Balance has announced a third defining partnership with Intel to use its RealSense 3D scanning and imaging technology to gather precise measurements of each customers’ foot, and potentially create the most accurate customizable 3D printed midsoles on the market. The announcement was made at CES 2016 during the Intel CES press conference.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and New Balance CEO Rob Demartini on stage at CES 2016
Intel’s RealSense depth-sensing 3D camera is a highly advanced imaging technology that combines three cameras into one: a 1080p HD camera, an infrared camera, and in an infrared laser projector, all of which allow it to ‘see’ like a human eye, sensing depth and tracking movement. In addition to virtual reality applications, the RealSense camera can effectively be used as a powerful 3D scanner—in fact, after publicly announcing interest in a partnership with Intel at last year’s CES, XYZPrinting’s portable 3D scanner, which allows for scan resolution of 1.5mm, is now powered by Intel’s RealSense technology.
New Balance’s 3D printed running shoe will be based on its existing Fresh Foam Zante model, maintaining a conventional cloth upper. However, rather than using expensive and wasteful injection molding to create the midsole, SLS 3D printing technology allows for proprietary elastomer powders to be fused into a cohesive, thin, lightweight and extremely durable material.
With 3D Systems, Nervous System, and now Intel’s RealSense technology to back it up, New Balance’s 3D printed running shoe midsole promises to pack some serious punch (or should I say kick?). Though no price has been released, New Balance did say that once released, the 3D printed shoe will cost slightly more than their regular products, however it will still be accessible to ‘serious amateur runners’ who are interested in innovative footwear.
After an initial, limited launch at the upcoming Boston Marathon, taking place just a few months from now, New Balance’s 3D printed running shoe receive a much wider release. The company also plans to install customization technology in select retail locations by 2017, giving consumers the opportunity to customize their 3D printed midsoles on-site.
The Intel CES press conference also revealed New Balance and Intel's plans to collaborate on an Anroid-based fitness smartwatch, which is due for launch during the holiday season of 2016.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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