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Nike Conducts A Tech-Assisted Face-Off

With “Nike Free Face” from Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo, users can contort the flexible new Nike Free shoe by making silly faces into a webcam. As one does.

Nike Conducts A Tech-Assisted Face-Off

Let’s face it, there just aren’t enough opportunities these days to make weird faces on the Internet for fun and profit. With its new shoe and corresponding app, however, Nike is out to change all that.

Nike Free shoes are more flexible than most, and the brand has found a novel way to prove as much–by getting all up in potential customers’ faces with facial recognition technology. Launching this week in Japan, Nike Free Face is a web app that allows users to squish, twist, and contort the shoe’s sole, armed with only their faces and a webcam.

The app, created by Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo, utilizes both facial recognition and expression recognition technology, photographing the user’s punim and then calculating facial flexibility to define the diagonal and horizontal movement of the shoe. It’s science! In addition, the application recognizes the color of the user’s clothes and the background to automatically coordinate the color of the Nike Free shoe using the Nike ID customization system.

Users can also submit their best face to the Free Face Off, a competition in which a weekly winner will win a Nike ID gift card. For a look at the kind of competition you might be up against, watch the video below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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