Computer models now under development could enhance the design of sports equipment to help people of all abilities realise their sporting potential.
The models, more sophisticated and more specialised than others previously used in sports equipment design, produce unprecedentedly realistic simulations of how potential ball designs, for instance, will actually behave when in use.
This data can then be harnessed by sports equipment design teams to ensure that the final products they develop behave (e.g. bounce and spin) as required and, above all, with more consistency than ever before. This is vital if sportsmen and women are to optimise their skills, apply them with confidence and maximise their achievement.
The capabilities of these ground-breaking computer models, which are being developed at Loughborough University by a team from the Sports Technology Research Group, will be described at this years BA Festival of Science in York.
The UK is at the forefront of sports-related engineering, says Dr Andy Harland, who leads the team and will deliver the presentation on 13th September. Our computer models can provide invaluable technical input to the sports equipment design process. For example, by enabling the real-world behaviour of different design options to be simulated with extreme accuracy, they can reduce the need to manufacture expensive prototypes and cut the time required to get improved equipment from the drawing-board to the shops.
The basis of the models is provided by commercially available, industry-leading Abaqus software. The team take this software and then, by developing and adding complex algorithms*, enhance its ability to simulate mathematically the exact characteristics of a particular piece of sports equipment, of different playing surfaces and so on. The model can then show exactly what will happen when a ball, for instance, has a specified amount of force or spin applied to it, and how it w
|Contact: Beverly Silk|
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council