A 2-Hour Marathon Once Seemed Unthinkable. Could Nike’s Radical New Shoe Be The Key?

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Filled with post-EVA foam and a carbon fiber plate, this shoe was designed to increase running efficiency by 6%.

No one has ever run a marathon in less than two hours. In fact, the four fastest marathons in history—all within an 18-second margin—are still about three minutes shy of breaking the barrier. Now, Nike hopes that a crazy-looking pair of shoes will help.

They look something like an early ’80s punk haircut, with a white color fin pointing out the razor-sharp tip of a defiant mohawk. But these kicks are anything but counterculture. The Vaporfly Elite is the result of one of the most advanced R&D projects inside the biggest athletic shoe company in the world—they’re the weapon of choice in Nike’s self-assigned goal of breaking the two-hour marathon.

The Vaporfly lineup includes two consumer products and one concept version. Consumers will be able to buy the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% ($250) and Nike Zoom Fly ($150), each out in June in limited quantities—they come with the promise of adding 4% average efficiency to your running stride. Meanwhile, a few select pros will get access to a customized alternative that Nike likens to a concept car, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite. Each Elite is bespoke, shaped specifically to the athlete’s foot, layered with more than an inch of material padding, and carved in an aerodynamic fin shape, all with the goal of adding 6% efficiency to the athlete’s run.

The numbers might sound small, but when you’re talking about shaving just minutes off a multi-hour run, these tiny differences matter. It’s all about conserving the power lost in every footfall, and recapturing it in your next step. According to Nike, every 1% of step efficiency boosts speed measurably enough that a shoe that’s 6% more efficient should shave a marathon time down enough to break the two-hour mark.

A NEW PARADIGM

In 2009, barefoot running took the industry by storm thanks largely to one book, Born to Run, which profiled Mexico’s Tarahumara tribe, a group able to run 100 miles at a time over rough terrain. Why? Author Christopher McDougall believed it had to do with the fact that they didn’t wear shoes, and he traced a 40-year correlation between the rise of athletic shoes and sports injuries.

The Vaporfly unabashedly bucks this trend.

The project was born inside Nike’s research labs in 2015—and with several conversations with Nike-sponsored long distance runners. Originally, Nike believed that a track-spike inspired shoe would make the most sense. It was light, and featured a rigid internal plate that maintained energy.

“What we heard from [athletes] was, don’t put me closer to the ground. Concrete hurts, even if you’re an efficient lightweight runner,” says Bret Schoolmeester, senior director of Nike’s Global Running Footwear. “26 miles of pavement takes its toll. They needed more cushioning.”

Continue onto Fast Company to read more about Nike’s innovative new shoes.

MIT Students Give Us Our First Cinematic Look At Riri Williams, Marvel’s New Iron Man

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The fictional MIT student gets portrayed by real MIT students in a fan film.

Marvel’s Riri Williams—the star of the comic book publisher’s Invincible Iron Man, flying around in her suit of armor since Tony Stark disappeared at the end of the Civil War II crossover event—is one of the more promising characters the company has introduced in recent years. (And with a lineup that includes America Chavez, Miles Morales, and more, that’s no mean feat.) But as great a character as Riri, who fights crime under the superhero name Ironheart, has turned out to be, she’s probably got a while before she replaces Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Still, if you want a glimpse of what the young genius-level engineer would look like in the real world, students at MIT—where the fictional Williams built her suit of Iron Man armor—have given you the chance. In their annual “Pi Day” film, released to remind prospective students that March 14 can also be stylized as 3.14, a current MIT student plays the hero, showing her journey from invention to flight in the university’s labs.

Source: Fast Company

How They Animated ‘The Lego Batman Movie’

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‘The Lego Batman Movie’ uses an impressive style of animation that replicates the look of real lego bricks. These digital bricks abide by all the rules of real Lego bricks, so they cannot bend or move in an impractical way. Mike Seymour breaks down a few of the most remarkable scenes, where numerous complex techniques were used to create a believable image.

 

Source: WIRED

Google and H&M collaborate on a new ‘Data Dress’

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The hottest designer at the next Fashion Week may well be your smartphone.

H&M Group’s digital fashion house, Ivyrevel, is working on a collaboration with Google called the “Data_Dress.” The project is based around an Android app that learns about a user and designs a personalized garment for them. It’s part of the Coded Couture project by Ivyrevel.

“We’re about to change the fashion industry by bringing the customer’s personality into the design process through data technology,” Aleksandar Subosic, co-founder of Ivyrevel, said in a press release. “The Data_Dress enables women around the world to order a dress made entirely for them that reflects the way they live their lives”.

The Data_Dress app is simple to use. It uses Google’s Snapshot API, which allows an app to passively monitor a user’s daily activity and lifestyle. It collects information such as location, what kind of activity the user is performing—like walking, sitting or running—and the weather in the area.

By simply carrying your phone for a week, the app learns about your lifestyle and designs a unique Ivyrevel dress using Google’s technology. The phone then creates a dress with a unique pattern, personalizing everything from material and silhouette to embroidery details using the story captured by the app. The Data_Dress will then be available via Ivyrevel for purchase.

Continue onto Mashable to see a video of how this dress works!

Chevy Brought a Life-Sized Lego Batmobile to the Detroit Auto Show

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Chevrolet brought a lot of cool vehicles to the 2017 North American International Auto Show. The coolest — by far — was their life-sized Lego Batmobile.

Sure, the restyled 2018 Traverse looked sharp. Yes, the Bolt’s 380KM all-electric range is impressive. But the 17-foot-long Speedmobile (which you’ll see in The Lego Batman movie next month) built from a whopping 340,000 Lego bricks stole the show from a geek’s perspective.

17 feet seems a bit longer than life-sized, but it’s par for the course for a Batmobile. Even the comparatively stumpy Tumbler was over 15 feet long. Other cinematic Batmobiles have stretched to 25 or even 33 feet!

Despite Lego Batman’s claim that he only works in black or very, very dark gray, the Speedmobile does have a few colorful accents. There are the red hubs and striping, blue Technic connectors, and the yellow windshield, signals, and Chevrolet badge.

This epic build was assembled by a team of Lego Master Builders at their model shop in Enfield, Connecticut. It took them more than 220 hours to design and over 1800 man hours to actually build it. The finished piece weighs over 1600 pounds, which is supported by a welded aluminum frame.

This isn’t the first Batmobile Chevy has had a hand in building. The one Michael Keaton drove in the 1989 Batman film was built on an Impala chassis, and the one driven by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever was powered by a Chevy V8.

Continue onto GEEK to read the complete article.

What Happens When Algorithms Design a Concert Hall? The Stunning Elbphilharmonie

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THE MOST INTERESTING thing about Herzog and De Meuron’s newly opened concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, isn’t its wave-like facade, which rises above the city of Hamburg, Germany. It’s not the gently curved elevator at the base of the lobby that deposits you into the belly of the Swiss architects’ alien landscape. And it’s not the Escher-esque stairways that guide you from one floor to the next.

Though Hamburg’s $843 million philharmonic is filled with stunning architectural gems, its most interesting feature is the central auditorium, a gleaming ivory cave built from 10,000 unique acoustic panels that line the ceiling, walls, and balustrades. The room looks almost organic—like a rippling, monochromatic coral reef—but bringing it to life was a technological feat.

The auditorium—the largest of three concert halls in the Elbphilharmonie—is a product of parametric design, a process by which designers use algorithms to develop an object’s form. Algorithms have helped design bridges, motorcycle parts, typefaces—even chairs. In the case of the Elbphilharmonie, Herzog and De Meuron used algorithms to generate a unique shape for each of the 10,000 gypsum fiber acoustic panels that line the auditorium’s walls like the interlocking pieces of a giant, undulating puzzle.

Continue onto WIRED to read the complete article.

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