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The New Nike+

Sneakers embedded with pressure sensors and accelerometers bring all-new opportunities for athletic performance tracking

by Josh Rubin in Tech on 22 February 2012

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Originally unveiled in 2006, Nike+ has grown to a committed community of over six million digitally connected users. To build upon this concrete foundation Nike has today announced the Nike+ basketball and training shoes embedded with pressure sensors and accelerometers to collect previously unmeasurable, movement-based statistics across multiple levels of speed and agility. The groundbreaking technology is the next step in building a robust ecosystem, in compliment with the innovative Nike FuelBand and specialized Nike+ mobile apps. While these first shoes and apps are focused on basketball and training, this massive innovation represents the beginning of an entirely new chapter in sport measurement and motivation.

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The first sneakers to feature the sensor technology are the Hyperdunk+ basketball shoe and the Lunar Hyperworkout+ and Lunar TR1+ training shoes. In all three shoes four embedded sensors—toe, heel, ball and outer foot—work with an internal accelerometer to accurately measure movement and relay stats to your iPhone wirelessly. The three-axis accelerometer and Bluetooth sensor are contained in a removable disc that lasts for about 40 hours between charges, which are achieved using the included USB adapter. An innovation from Nike's "Kitchen," this measurement technology isn't new—it has been used extensively in design research to better understand how athletes move. The revolution comes from the company's ability to bring this innovation to consumers in a usable and exciting form.

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While the sensor arrays are the same in all shoes, the Nike+ apps the data is sent to provide the different approaches to tracking, motivation and sharing data. Nike+ Basketball lets you know how high you jump, how quick you run, and how hard you play. In addition to these precise stats a universal NikeFuel score is captured—all allowing the user to compare to previous games plus general exercise with their friends.

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The Nike+ Training platform takes the same approach, quantifying each and every movement, shuffle, step, lunge and jump. For training, however, the app features videos of pro athletes coaching you through a series of workouts dynamically sequenced based on your fitness goals. The data captured from these workouts not only provides the measurement necessary to set new goals and improve, but also statistics to share with friends or competitors.

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All the data gathered is meant not only to impress but to inspire. By making a workout into something close to a game, feelings will positively shift to improve performance and dedication. To fully understand what the latest Nike+ advancements mean for the company, consider President and CEO Mark Parker's general but bold statement: "It's about much more than a shoe. It represents a shift for Nike from product, to product plus experience."

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The Nike+ Pressure Sensor enabled Hyperdunk+, Hyperworkout+ and Lunar TR1+ will debut in specialty shops come 29 June, 2012.

photos by Josh Rubin

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