Elite athletes unite to imagine the future of sport.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Oakley Australia’s The Future of Sport, a disruptive glance into the future of sports performance technology according to legendary racing cyclist, Cadel Evans, Olympic snowboarder Scotty James, surfing prodigy Jack Robinson, Oakley and three leading design companies.
Seek out problems, find solutions, and wrap them in art
Oakley is no stranger to product innovation and new design technology. In 2013 they released their Oakley Airwave goggle allowing navigation of resort maps, delivery of personal data around speed, amplitude and altitude as well as allowing the user to controlling their soundtrack from the inside of the google’s lens. This project celebrates the collision of technology and sport to create three innovative new concepts in collaboration with athlete and designer, each representing a window into the future of three sports.
Disruptive by design
“Snowboarding is the closest you can get to free flight other than jumping out of an aeroplane or base jumping, now we are smashing the boundaries of what this freedom can be.”
One of the three innovators and good friend of Still Stoked was leading wearable tech company Wearable Experiments (We:eX). They collaborated with snowboarder Scotty James to explore how wearable technology could give him more air and ‘shatter the confines of snowboarding’. I caught up with Ben from We:eX to get the low down on the project and how the team came to develop their disruptive snowboard design for Oakley.
“Our collaboration with Scotty James for the Oakley Future Sport Project brings together fashion and technology with a functional design aesthetic, and through creative problem solving with Oakley, we have created unique, design focused wearable technology that will revolutionise how athletes prepare, perform and approach the sport of snowboarding.”
Big Air – snowboarding flying jacket
The idea was to launch a first-of-a-kind line of snowboard gear that increase the wearer’s velocity and flight time.
Quadrocopters and the flight projection that wingsuit fliers experience when base-jumping or proximity flying.
Build a turbine structure through the back of a customised snowboarding jacket. The turbines will use the wind force and trajectory from a half-pipe jump to accelerate the rider and increase the amount of time and distance in the air. Controlled using 9-axis mention sensors the BIG AIR jacket has situational awareness and can increase the number of flips and spins, or in the case where a rider gets out of control, the jacket can bring the rider back to vertical and back to the ground safely.
The “fin” shaped turbines will be lightweight metal polymer (or potentially a graphene), as an external feature built into the jacket through supporting internal skeletal structures. Graphene is the thinnest compound known to man (at one atom thick) and also the lightest and strongest – read more about it here as it is pretty rad stuff!
Will we see “Big Air” in production any time soon?
The technology we’re talking about is too advanced right now so there are no immediate plans to manufacture the concept. The material graphene can not yet be mass produced but there is hope that the future will see it being used with 3D printers. The “Big Air” jacket could be something we see produced in the next 30 years, but who knows if it will be sooner than that – at Oakley, anything is possible!