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— Science

The surprising aerodynamics behind the Brazuca World Cup football

Under the guise of World Cup fever, scientists across the globe are seizing the opportunity to examine the aerodynamic properties of what will in all likelihood be the most talked-about object on a global scale over the coming weeks, the 2014 World Cup match ball. The ball, lovingly named Brazuca by the Brazilian people, is the product of a significant amount of research and money aimed at creating the ultimate centerpiece for one of the greatest sporting competitions on Earth. Read More
— Sports

Adidas miCoach Smart Ball tracks your striking power and finesse

It was back in 2007 that Adidas first explored the potential of an intelligent football. In the time since, it has continued to smarten up sports performance with heart-monitoring phones, fitness tracking watches and intelligent football boots. Now, just as the globe turns its focus to next month's World Cup in Brazil, it has unveiled the miCoach Smart Ball, a soccer ball with built-in sensors to track everything from the power of your strike to the finesse of your free kick. Read More
— Children

Sphero 2.0 rolls out faster and brighter than the original

With the launch of the original Sphero, Orbotix gave the humble ball a technological upgrade. It was a smartphone-controllable robotic toy which could be driven around like an RC car via Bluetooth, or even used to play augmented reality games. Now the Sphero 2.0 has been revealed, which is capable of rolling faster, shining brighter, and is generally said to be much smarter. Read More
— Pets

iFetch allows a dog to play fetch on its own

Playing fetch with your dog is surely one of life's high points. After a short while though, it can all get a bit tiring and just a tad boring. Your bouncing bundle of fun, on the other hand, would happily keep the game going for hours. Fortunately, technology is here to help. The iFetch from the Hamill family shoots out a ball for your dog to fetch, and when fido drops it in the opening at the top, it's fired back out again. Read More
— Environment

Energy-harvesting SOCCKET ball kicks off on Kickstarter

When we first covered the SOCCKET power-generating soccer ball back in 2010, the concept was in the prototype stages of development. Since then, the ex-Harvard University team responsible for the design has launched the for-profit social enterprise company Uncharted Play, filed patents for the SOCCKET’s kinetic energy-capturing technology and, more recently, has launched a SOCCKET Kickstarter campaign. Read More
— Digital Cameras

The BallCam – coming soon to a gridiron near you?

Viewers of televised football games can now see footage from video cameras mounted on the players’ helmets and the coaches’ heads ... what else could one ask? Of course, let’s see what things look like from the ball’s point of view! Actually, that’s no longer as far-fetched as it once was. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications (UEC) recently unveiled their BallCam system, which can provide relatively smooth video from a spinning, airborne football. Read More
— Science

Collapsible “Buckliball” turns failure into functionality

Taking inspiration from a toy, a team of researchers at MIT have developed a new engineering structure that is mechanically unstable, yet collapses in a way that is predictable and reversible. The structure, formed out of a single piece of rubber-like material, is fabricated so that it collapses in harmony to form a smaller structure that can then be expanded into the original shape. This structure opens up new potentials in everything from architecture to micro-medical applications. Read More
— Games

TheO Ball lets you get physical with your smartphone

Playing with your phone just got a little more physical, with TheO Ball. The foam ball is designed to hold your phone within its cushioned grasp, allowing you to literally throw your phone around to play games without fear of damage. Created by PhysicalApps, the idea behind TheO Ball is to get you moving rather than sitting around while playing games with your phone. The company recently showed off the ball and a few games it has developed specifically to use alongside it, at the 2012 Toy Fair in NYC. Read More
— Games

Sphero smartphone-controlled ball is ready to roll

Of all the products on display at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, one that drew a particularly large number of spectators was ... a ball. Not just any ball, mind you. Developed by Colorado-based tech firm Orbotix, Sphero is a self-propelled rolling ball that users remotely control via Bluetooth, using an app on their smartphone. While it was still in the prototype stage when we last saw it, Sphero has now been redesigned for the retail market, and is available for preorder. Read More
— Sports

360ball throws a curve at racquet sports

It’s kind of like table tennis, kind of like squash, and looks like it would definitely be a good workout – it’s 360ball, a new racquet sport out of South Africa. Games are played on a circular court by two players, or two teams of two players, who are situated around a central concave deflecting disc. Players hit the ball into the disc, trying to do so in such a way that when it bounces out, their opponent(s) won’t be able to reach it. Unlike tennis, say, there are no designated sides on which players have to remain. Instead, everyone is allowed to move 360 degrees around the disc as play dictates ... hence the name. Read More