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Humanizing Tech

Nike’s Secret Space Tech Line

Clues to their space suits and interstellar sports wearables

I. Setting the Stage

Now that the planet had its hottest year on record for the third straight year in a row, the ice sheets are melting, and we’re overdue for an astroid to hit us, there is an important question we need to start asking ourselves.

Are we prepared to get off-planet, if we have to, if we only have 40 years notice? What if we only have a decade? What if we only have a year heads up? Or, more painful to think about, only a few days notice that an asteroid is hurtling directly towards the Earth?

This report is meant to show how we are slowly getting closer to that preparation, not from a massive launch or shelter technology perspective, but from a protecting the individual human body perspective.

Number 11 on our 12 Tech Theses of the 2030s is Interstellar Sports Wearables. In it, we describe how athletes make for great astronauts and space explorers. In our previous reports, The Future of Sports Tech and Smart Space Shoes, we alluded to the outer space implications.

Thus, in this report we’ll describe the various states of technologies and branding that will add up to something unexpected, save for maybe the Boards of Apple and SpaceX, and Tinker’s kitchen of innovation.

  • Performance in Any Environment: Nike Pro, Compression, Drifit, Climalite all represent base layer clothing for regulating body temperature and moisture in heat or cold
  • Environment-Proof Health Wearables: like the Apple Watch and AirPods
  • Self-Adapting Clothing: including Nike’s HyperAdapt self-lacing shoes, self-powered and self-healing clothes

Nike’s brand promise and products, for decades, have been about one simple thing: enabling the highest human performance in the most physically demanding environments.

II. Performance In Any Environment

Whether it’s cold and you need to perform while locking in body heat, but still maintain ventilation so you don’t sweat out, or manage sweat in the face of the sun’s blistering heat, or need to reduce muscle fatigue in zero Gs, Nike is most advanced apparel solution, at scale.

Below is a bit of their current product marketing from their Nike Pro site.

Just look at those hexagonal “zoned thermal regulation panels”. Doesn’t it just look space-ey? Which, by the way, might remind you of Oprah’s other most favorite thing: Graphene’s honeycomb-shaped space age building block material.

There is also Nike’s sister brand, Hurley, founded in 1998 in Costa Mesa California that Nike then bought in 2002. It’s a different brand focused on surf suits for harsh, underwater climates. They also make performance gear for skateboarding but is less important for our purposes at the moment.

Hurley’s wetsuit product marketing: “latest innovations for cold-water surfing”

Step back and realize that this clothing is made for humans operating within a different state of matter. It’s not a gas, like air, but rather a liquid, in this case H2O. Go to the beach sometime with a fresh set of eyes.

Look at all the weird homo sapiens and animal life that are drawn to this alien liquid that covers their planet. Doesn’t it seem weird that these creatures are made almost entirely of something so corrosive, ingest it, and then surround themselves with it multiple times per day. It seems normal to us humans, but from an alien’s perspective it could see very weird indeed.

Nike has already created dumb “exoskeletons” that protect us from this corrosive liquid when its temperature is outside a safe limit. That’s the first step.

III. Environment-Proof Health Wearables

When Apple recently updated their Watch product to version 2.0, they focused on two areas. The first was performance, making the watch faster and easier to use by humans. The second was related to fitness. Said differently, they added GPS and water resistance.

While the location tracker helps as a homing beacon if you get lost or hurt and need to send for help, the second works in concert with Nike’s wetsuit line to continue working in corrosive elements, at higher pressures, in a different state of matter.

That sounds like space to us. It’s just not marketed that way yet.

And coming in version 3 of the watch will be a cellular radio band to enable communication without an iPhone being present. Note that the iPhone could be considered an interstellar space ship as well.

Finally, noting the partnership between Nike and Apple for the wearable is the realization of a strategy that occured years ago when Nike disbanded their Fuelband division in favor of leaving the tech to the techies at Apple.

Apple Watch (shown in harsh environments) and showing the Nike collaboration

The next product that Apple announced without any mention of its product roadmap was the AirPods. As a communication device connected to Intelligent assistant software, it helps to stay hands free when you’re talking to Jarvis on a totally different planet.

Eventually, we will see it become a universal translator for the languages present here on Earth (pun intended). You speak Spanish, it translates into English into my ear. It lets me talk to my friend on the other side of a noisy room (or on a space walk) by connecting me walkie-talkie style. It lets me play any music I like throughout the day, adding a soundtrack to any repairs I need to do, or even showering.

Expect the AirPods to get the same all-environment treatment as the Watch.

IV. Self-Adapting Clothing

There are a few different innovations on the horizon that will enable a second skin that works for us. The first of which was recently released by Nike called the Hyperadapt that laces itself.

It’s not just that it’s smart or connected, but rather that it does something to itself. It programs itself. It adapts. It’s a biological concept, much like Biologic Intelligence is what comes after Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Because at some point it just drops the adjective and becomes simply Intelligence.

The shoes adapt to your foot. It’s the roadmap Nike has been on since the beginning and the reason they invested in Flyknit “sock” technology in the first place. The more precise the fit, the better the performance and protection.

Expect all clothing to eventually adapt to ourselves as well, which is our second innovation.

When our clothing not only begins to repair or heal itself, but also stop dirt and odor, it just means that much more protection and less work. You make a big business from clothes you don’t have to wash or throw away, and then you’re ready for our space-enabled future.

But is this just a pipe dream, or science reality?

The fine folks at Penn State have already been working on self-healing clothes that neutralize chemicals. By using SRT-coated fabric, it can actually break down urine into its component chemicals, thereby neutralizing an accident if you happen to “wet the bed”. It sounds funny, but did you know that astronauts currently have to wear diapers.

From left, fabric with hole, wet fabric and patch in a drop of water, self-healed fabric.

The best of us, doing the most dangerous and important jobs in the history of humanity, are wearing diapers. We can do better.

Our third and final innovation is the ability for our clothes and tech wearables to charge themselves. Energy and electricity is going to come at a premium in interstellar space and when you’re all by yourself, running out of juice means you run out of life support.

So, it requires that we have kinetically charged software and hardware, much like a high-end horological timepiece winds itself by the motion of your hand.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase

It’s our 7th Thesis, the Personal Power Station, where it’s the human body that charges the electronics. There’s also a way to keep the efficiency of our electronics at the absolute limit of capability and recapture previously lost energy for re-use that could power our electronics for eons.

In short, there are many scientific breakthroughs that enable this future we are envisioning. It only takes a single human to see them, and organize them. Pull the pieces together for a new purpose, make a few tweaks, and be prepared for the drama that will unfold in the coming decades.

As the Boy Scouts say, “always prepared”.

V. Working in Space

When looked at through a new lens, these interstellar space explorer implications are striking. Nike is almost there, save for protecting our bodies (and our brains) from the radiation. There are very real implications for sending life to live on Mars, if we don’t devise some system of protection. Some form of human augmentation.

Or, what we’ve colloquially called, Biohacking. So that problem will need to be solved, and not taken lightly. Even if we think we’re prepared from a life support perspective with food, oxygen, and shelter from the harsh environment, there hasn’t been much data for long-term exposure to our brains from that cosmic background radiation, changes in gravity, or magnetic poles.

The biggest problem we have to solve might just be the one that’s most invisible.

On a happier, and more monetizable note, there are very real commercial benefits, aside from the existential, to getting humans up into space.

Below is an image from one of the leaders in space mining startups, Planetary Resources. And with all those “jobs lost from AI” (hah) means we need some place to point all that skilled labor.

In addition to obtaining the raw materials necessary, there will also require a very real material processing and manufacturing businesses. It’s the industrial revolution all over again, only this time doubly difficult due to the harsh environment to humans.

Taken from Humanizing Tech’s Space as a Platform analysis deck.

We won’t be far enough along with our intelligence software nor robotics to just shoo it away to the machines to do it for us. We are still going to need athletes to do the jobs. The sports stars of the future might be the ones playing the life-or-death game of space walks, live streamed on Facebook for all the world to see, rather than the battle of the grid-iron.

An interesting thought, no? If the celebrities of the future are the ones challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally but expected to perform the most daring of feats.

It’s not that big of a leap when you look back to the 1960s and realize the most famous people on the planet were the ones who did something no one else in the history of humankind has ever done.

If you want to be the MVP of the future, your training regimen might shift from how well you handle a ball, to how well you handle the dexterity of space walks.

Jumpman, jumpman, jumpan.

VI. Your Related Analyst Reports

Below are public analyst reports and thought pieces related to Nike, Apple, Sports, and SpaceX. If you’d like to request your own analysis, or are interested in sponsoring our publication, you can learn more about Humanizing Tech’s Think Tank.

  1. 12 Tech Theses of the 2030s
  2. The Importance of Nike to Apple’s Future Smart Clothing Product
  3. Nike + SpaceX’s Upcoming Smart Space Shoe
  4. The Secret Product the iPhone 7 Enables
  5. The Future of Sports Tech

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Nike’s Secret Space Tech Line was originally published in Humanizing Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2jss7qR