Toward Creating Products that Enhance Athlete Performance

Date(s) - 11/08/2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual via Zoom

Alison Sheets-Singer, Ph.D., Principal Biomechanics Researcher, Nike

Virtual via Zoom & projected in Communicore, C1-15

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Elite level performances are often separated by fractions of a percent. For example, over the last 10 years, 100m races at the World Championships and Olympics have been decided by an average of 0.1s (~0.82%), and who can forget shots that have been blocked by the very tips of a defender’s fingers in the last seconds of championship games. At Nike we have the amazing opportunity to investigate the movements, underlying biomechanical structures, and needs of each athlete to be able to create products that can help them achieve their goals. In this talk, I will describe the role of research in the Nike innovation process, and share examples of how researchers working with teams of product creators are able to translate human performance insights into product briefs. Product examples that enhance an athlete’s endurance and agility will be used to illustrate this how this process can work.

Alison Sheets-Singer leads a Biomechanics Exploration Team in the Nike Sport Research Lab. The broad goal of the Sport Research Lab is to make athletes* measurably better, and her team focuses on how Nike can create products and services that amplify and augment human performance for athletes of all abilities. They use experimental approaches and computer simulation, modeling, and optimization to accomplish these goals. Her largest contributions to the sports biomechanics field are realized through Nike’s product line, and she has received a Visionary Award from the Women of Nike for her leadership and teamwork.

In addition to her role at Nike, Dr. Sheets-Singer served for two-years as a co-chair of the inaugural cohort of the New Voices in Sciences, Engineering, a program of the National Academies, and is on the standing council for the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance. Both organizations aim to bring together diverse researchers from industry, university, and government settings to identify important societal needs and to accelerate finding solutions.

Prior to joining Nike, Dr. Sheets-Singer was an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of CA, Davis, and was Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford University.