When Olympic athlete Ashton Eaton finishes an event, he feels better after dousing himself with a bottle of water, but that's not a very elegant way of keeping his head cool. That's why the decathlete teamed up with Nike to build this prototype face mask that's designed to reduce the temperature of his head and face. Essentially, the Nike Cooling Head is a heatsink for your skull, with a mesh that holds tiny veins of water close and tight to the contours of your face. When an athlete is trying to chill down after a fast sprint in hot weather, all they have to do is pull this out of a refrigerator and strap it on.
The idea is hardly a new one, since plenty of people already make "ice hats," beanies with a void to hold ice cubes, to do the same job. In addition, Nike's been producing the PreCool Vest, a t-shirt covered in ice packs, since 2004. The company feels that the thermal benefits are one thing, but the psychological boost of going into your next race without a sweaty face might be just as powerful.
For now, the prototype will be tested out by Eaton and Canadian athlete Brianne Thiesen-Eaton, who will put the headgear through its paces during summer training. If it proves successful, however, then this might just make its way into the national team's kitbag. As such, if you suddenly see your favorite olympians dressing up like a discount Jason Voorhees on their down time, don't freak out.