Infrared Thermography and Athletic Comfort

Table of Contents

Introduction
Innovations to Ensure Leading Market Position
ClimaCoolTM: a Success Thanks To Infrared
What is ClimaCool™
Conclusion
About FLIR

Introduction

Professional athletes demand top quality products in order to deliver their best. Adidas, one of the leading producers of sports shoes, balls, apparel, and track suits continues to seek innovative designs and materials to meet these demands. The company has now achieved this goal using a FLIR Systems infrared camera, the ThermaCAM SC 3000.

Established in 1948, adidas is now manufacturing 45 million pairs of sports shoes each year.

Shoe with ClimaCool technology compared to a normal shoe. The ClimaCool drains the heat from the foot. Therefore higher temperatures are measured at the outside of this shoe.

Innovations to Ensure Leading Market Position

Adidas continues to develop and market new sophisticated products to satisfy the most demanding athletes. Karsten Westphal, Lab Manager Research & Testing, informed that before any new models are launched into the market, they are extensively tested to ensure that they satisfy the high quality standards. To achieve this criterion, Adidas stocks the most sophisticated equipment. A FLIR Systems ThermaCAM SC 3000 infrared camera forms a part of this equipment set-up.

Westphal added that during the development of the ClimaCool technology, this infrared camera was utilized. The concept behind the ClimaCool technology is quite simple. Athletes tend to sweat while running, but when the feet become hot and wet, there are chances of getting blisters. Adidas wanted to design a shoe that can allow the athletes to perform well without actually feeling uncomfortable. Based on this, studies were performed to determine which part of the foot tends to become hotter. After this was done, the ClimaCool shoe was developed to eliminate the heat from these areas.

At the Adidas Test Center in Scheinfeld, Germany, tests were conducted in which comparisons were made between the original ClimaCool running shoe‚ the ClimaCool2 running shoe and a regular running shoe. During the tests, Climatester, a type of machine that uses sensors, was connected to the athlete and this equipment directly relayed the data to a PC to determine the moisture and temperature level of the athlete during sporting activity. In addition, an infrared camera was employed to detect those areas of the foot that were more sensitive to heat build up and temperature changes.

Karsten Westphal, Lab Manager Research & Testing in the Adidas Test Center in Scheinfeld.

The Adidas Test Center.

Westphasl added that at first, temperature sensors were used to calculate the temperature at only certain well-determined spots of the shoe. While this technique gave some idea about the heat being drained, a complete picture was required to arrive at a suitable solution. For this reason, an infrared camera was used to serve this purpose. After elaborate assessment, Adidas selected the FLIR Systems ThermaCAM SC 3000, which has a 0.02°C thermal sensitivity and this feature enabled them to observe the smallest of temperature changes.

Westphasl continued that they were able to determine the temperature at 76.800 individual measurement points using the high resolution image of 320 x 240 pixels. The system generates images at 50 Hz with extremely short integration times and this enabled them to view images that were blur-free and also allowed them to calculate the slightest temperature changes in real-time even when the athletes were sprinting at full speed. This exercise helped in assessing how the shoe reacted to the temperature variations in the foot over a given time period. Additionally, the ThermaCAM Researcher software made it viable to perform an elaborate thermal study on the obtained results.

ClimaCoolTM: a Success Thanks To Infrared

Karsten continued that the ThermaCAM SC 3000 has allowed them to design the ClimaCool technology. The infrared camera produced images that delivered the required information which otherwise would not have been possible with sensors alone. Karsten added that adidas has decided to purchase the FLIR Systems ThermaCAM to develop the ClimaCool technology and intends to use it in other forthcoming projects. Karsten also noted that the camera provides sharp-looking images that can be used for marketing purposes.

Detailed analysis of the heat dissipation when an athlete is running barefoot with the help of the ThermaCAM Researcher software.

The “Climatester” used for the development of the ClimaCool™.

The ThermaCAM SC 3000 finds the hot-spots on the ClimaCool™.

What is ClimaCool™

ClimaCool is a complete ventilation and cooling technology that utilizes angled vents to propel air through the shoe. When the intensity of the sporting activity increases, the air flow also increases accordingly. A larger area of cooling vents leads into and out of the shoe, increasing the airflow in and out of the shoe. The vents are positioned in locations so that air can enter directly into the shoe depending on the energy and speed exerted by the athlete’s foot.

Conclusion

Athletes can now have dryer and cooler feet and can experience additional comfort without the possibility of blisters.

About FLIR

FLIR was founded in 1978, originally providing infrared imaging systems that were installed on vehicles for use in conducting energy audits. Later, we expanded our focus to other applications and markets for our technology, in particular, designing and selling stabilized thermal imaging systems for aircraft used by law enforcement. We have since grown substantially due to increasing demand for infrared products across a growing number of markets combined with the execution of a series of acquisitions. Today we are one of the world leaders in the design, manufacture and marketing of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems for a wide variety of applications in the commercial, industrial and government markets, internationally as well as domestically.

Our Thermography business primarily consists of the design and manufacture of hand-held thermal imaging systems that can detect and measure minute temperature differences, which are useful for a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications. Uses for our Thermography products include high-end predictive and preventative maintenance, research and development, test and measurement, leak detection and scientific analysis. A growing distribution network has enabled us to penetrate existing and emerging markets and applications worldwide.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by FLIR.

For more information on this source, please visit FLIR.

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