While many athletes resort to pouring a bottle of cold water over their heads to cool down after an event, Nike's Sports Research Lab (NSRL) has something a little higher-tech in mind. The company's new hood prototype is designed to tackle the issue head-on, using liquid cooling to lower temperatures.
Though the hood itself looks like something out of a sci-fi blockbuster, the concept is actually fairly simple. The inner layer of the device is filled with water that's kept cool without leaking, while the structural frame over the top of the head and around the eyes holds the liquid-filled mesh in place, pressing it against the skin to achieve efficient cooling.
The new prototype builds on one of the company's previous efforts – the PreCool Vest. That product utilized a similar principle, using a triangular grid of metal and ice to cool core temperatures. According to the NSRL, the face is between two and five times more sensitive to temperature changes than other body surface areas, so the hood could prove a useful tool.
The product was developed in partnership with US Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, for whom the product is ideal for helping with a quick recovery between the 10 events, spread across just two days. Nike plans to continue working with Eaton, perfecting the prototype ahead of the coming year and a half of competition, which includes both the Beijing Athletics World Championships and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.