Designers have long looked at animals to provide inspiration for the most cutting edge sportswear technologies. But to develop their latest line of ultra-lightweight tracksuits, engineers at Nike turned to golf balls.
The company claims that its recently released Pro TurboSpeed will give sprinters a competitive advantage by knocking as many as .023 seconds off their 100-meter dash times. While the fluctuation may seem tiny, it could be the difference between first and second place for Olympic track stars.
The suit is lined with golf ball-like dimples around the shoulders, arms and calves—the areas on the body in which resistance is the strongest. Just as the tiny dents help a golf ball fly faster and farther through the air, the dimples help reduce the aerodynamic drag of the athlete.
Those dimples help balls travel further because they create low pressure turbulence in the boundary layer on the wind-facing side of the ball as it’s flying through the air, which ultimately means less drag behind the ball. The tiny circular shapes on Nike’s suit work according to the same principle.
Athletes from the United States, Germany, China and Russia are expected to wear the suits at this summer’s Olympic games. If these teams take home medals, we might return to questions of high-tech sportswear and the performance-enhancing roles they often play.
[via Fast Co.Design]
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