How a sweating robot influenced my way of thinking
Is there a place where the temperature changes from Sahara heat to Antarctic conditions within seconds? We found a place at our headquarters: the Global Sports Science Lab. While our primary goal was to discover what the FUTURE Team was working on, it turned out that HOW they approached work was far more interesting.
Our adventure started some weeks earlier with the preparation of a so-called ‘Learning Day’ for dual students when three of us had the task to organize an agenda for this day. As a dual student you are mostly placed in different Business Units and don’t gain deep insight into single development steps. Regarding this aspect we decided to find out more about the technologies used to create a product.
Stepping into the future
When we entered the Global Sports Science Lab, we felt very special as only a few employees have access to this area. What is now a futuristic area with a lot of technology started in a bus hall in Scheinfeld. When Udo Müller, Director of Future Communication, picked us up at the entrance, we were right away impressed by what he showed us. Complete football outfits with a weight of only 630 grams made us realize how far technology has developed with regard to our products.
We took our first step into the big laboratory and into the future of sports. At first, it did not seem that impressive, but after we got a closer insight we were overwhelmed by the different gadgets.
Life is like a big sandbox – be free and work creatively
Besides the equipment and location we were impressed by the attitude of the FUTURE Team members.
The team considers the lab as a big sandbox in which they can play whatever they want to. They are completely free and there is nothing that limits their creativity. They form the future of sports.
The team’s creation process is easy to understand: The idea is always the start of a creation journey. They think big and without limits, then they shape the first idea. Right after that they ask themselves what they actually need (gadgets, measurements, facilities) to bring this idea to life. They create a complete new set-up and finally create that new idea.
Meeting ‘Newton’ in the lab
Taking a closer look, we passed screens showing unknown measurement graphs, huge testing set-ups and high-speed cameras in every corner of the lab.
Then we met ‘Newton’, a human-like robot which can simulate human body reactions and can even sweat. Newton is a North American and was ‘hired’ to help the FUTURE Team’s climate research: What effects can have textiles on the body’s climate? Can we influence it with apparel innovations and how?
When we heard all the questions the FUTURE Team is asking itself every day again and again, we felt quite naive.
We realized that this team is always challenging the status quo, trying to create something groundbreaking – and they did so with the help of our personal lab highlight, the clima chamber.
Extreme climate changes within seconds in Germany
Inside the clima chamber, products can be tested under extreme conditions. It can take you through a journey from the Sahara to the North Pole within seconds. This chamber is unique worldwide and was built by and with the FUTURE Team experts.
Putting ‘Newton’ inside that chamber, they can simulate a human running in the desert while testing under laboratory conditions. With that set-up the FUTURE Team created ClimaChill, a revolution in active cooling apparel technology which improves athletes’ performance in hot conditions. Groundbreaking, smart, a step into the new.
After that day, somewhere in our products’ future, we learned three important things for our own future:
- Always try to challenge the status quo.
- Think BIG to reach your next level.
- Robots can really sweat.
By the way, the team is just working on … oh sorry, we can’t share that story with you yet. But stay tuned for more innovations from our FUTURE Team.
I'm not sure about Newton's nutrition plan ;) I assume he's fine with some water.