Wilson Sporting Takes it to the Hole With Airless Gen1 Basketball
The 3D printed basketball has an upgraded lattice design from the original prototype for more consistent performance and bounce, Wilson says.
Additive Manufacturing News
Additive Manufacturing Resources
February 9, 2024
Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has released Wilson Airless Gen1—a 3D-printed basketball that reportedly never needs to be inflated. Building off the success of the Airless Prototype debut last year, the limited-edition Wilson Airless Gen1 basketball will be available for purchase on February 16, 2024.
“We were overwhelmed by the excitement from our Airless Prototype, and we knew it was time to bring this rare, first-of-its kind innovation to the world,” says Kevin Murphy, general manager, Team Sports at Wilson. “Wilson has gone where no brand has gone before with the release of the Airless Gen1 basketball, further inspiring the next generation of sports innovation.”
“The Wilson Airless Gen1 has similar functionality to the prototype; however, over the last year, the Wilson Labs team has taken the steps to increase performance and streamline the manufacturing process,” Murphy adds. “The basketball nearly fits the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce). While the Wilson Airless Gen1 is crafted for play, it is truly a coveted, technology-infused product meant to create and inspire a new community of innovation enthusiasts and basketball hype curators alike.”
The main updates to the Wilson Airless Gen1 include:
- Improved functionality: Upgraded lattice design for more consistent performance and bounce. The ball still includes the same see-through lattice with eight panel-like “lobes.”
- Streamlined manufacturing: Holes integrated within the channels to help speed up the manufacturing process, making it faster to create each ball. The basketball remains airless and does not to be inflated.
- Enhanced customization: Each ball will have a built-in label for customization and will feature the exact, limited number in which it was produced.
- Color variety: In addition to the recognizable jet-black colorway of the prototype, the Airless Gen1 will also be available in brown and natural white.
The Wilson Labs team leveraged the same process to create the Wilson Gen1 Airless basketball with key partners: General Lattice provided computational design services for elevated performance optimization, DyeMansion provided color and finishing solutions, EOS provided technical oversight and a roadmap for mass production, while SNL Creative was the primary manufacturing hub for this first launch.
Limited units of the Wilson Airless Gen1 will be available exclusively on Wilson.com beginning Friday, Feb 16 for $2,500. Fans can also experience the product at Wilson’s on-site activation at NBA Crossover in Indianapolis from Feb 16–18.
About Wilson Sporting Goods
Chicago, USA-based Wilson Sporting Goods, part of Amer Sports Corp., is a manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. The company brings more than a century of innovation across many sports, including racquet sports, baseball, softball, American football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and golf.
In basketball, Wilson is the supplier of official game basketballs for the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for March Madness and the Final Four, Basketball Champions League (BCL), Basketball Africa League (BAL) and FIBA 3×3.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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