NFL to Create 3D Printed Shoes for Every Player


We are days away from the climactic ending to the NFL season, and HP just announced that it is working with the league to offer a new way to create custom cleats for every player in the league.

The HP-powered solution is called the FitStation, and it captures: 

  • 3D-scans of the player's foot.
  • Foot pressure measurements.
  • Dynamic gait analysis. 

It takes the information and creates a digital profile of how each player moves.

The FitStation uses algorithms to match the player's profile with scanned 3D images of Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour football cleats to find the best fitting shoe. The system then uses HP's Multi-Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to make a custom 3D-printed insole to match the player's profile.

According to HP, all 32 NFL teams have adopted the new technology, and it will be in every NFL equipment room by the beginning of next season — no word on whether or not any of the insoles will be used in Minnesota this weekend. The system takes up to 500 precise measurements per second with the help of a 3D scanner that contains nine cameras to capture length, width, and arch-height information.

The NFL's Musculoskeletal Committee, which analyzes injury data and makes equipment recommendations in an effort to make the game safer, chose the FitStation platform because it can take all of this unique data and recommend a shoe with a custom-made insole that best matches the player's anatomy.

According to Dr. Richard Kent, a member of the Musculoskeletal Committee, a better shoe could help protect against injuries like high ankle sprains, turf toe, and bone fractures.

Right now, the technology is also available to retail customers at 14 pilot locations across the United States.

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