Sportswear giant Nike is developing a generative AI model to design products using its extensive athlete performance data, Dezeen reports.

According to Nike’s chief innovation officer John Hoke, the company aims to leverage its exclusive athlete performance data with a custom-built large language model (LLM). LLMs are a text-based form of artificial intelligence trained to recognize language patterns, with OpenAI’s ChatGPT being a prominent example.

“We utilize all available LLMs and are developing our own in-house model,” Hoke shared with Dezeen. “We envision creating a ‘private garden’ by integrating our exclusive datasets, including performance data from athletes and our laboratories, with selected public data, ensuring our model is trained within this framework.”

The name of Nike’s AI model is yet to be finalized.

Hoke discussed this initiative at a recent Nike event in Paris, where the brand showcased its new elite sports footwear collection ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in the French capital.

During the event, Nike introduced the Athlete Imagined Revolution (AIR) project. This initiative involved designing prototype shoes for 13 top athletes, such as US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson and French footballer Kylian Mbappé, based on their preferences and personalities.

Using generative AI models, Nike input prompts based on the athletes’ preferences to create hundreds of images. These designs were then refined into single concepts through digital fabrication techniques like 3D sketching and printing.

“I would call this a new alchemy of making products at Nike,” said Hoke. “It involves taking athletes’ dreams, delving into their personalities, combining our imagination and intentions with emerging technologies like AI and computational design, and converging these elements.”

While World Athletics regulations require competition shoes to be widely available, it’s unclear if this hyper-personalized approach will be seen in tournaments.

“All sports are governed by proper regulations, which are critically important to us,” Hoke emphasized. “We’re not seeking an unfair advantage.”

Nike’s innovative use of AI and athlete data marks a significant step forward in personalized sportswear design, blending advanced technology with athletic insights to push the boundaries of performance and creativity.

By Impact Lab