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When a paddle tries to return a supersonic ping-pong ball -- the paddle loses! (Photo: Mar...

The fastest serve ever recorded by a ping-pong player moved at about 70 mph (113 km/h). Professor Mark French of Purdue University's Mechanical Engineering Technology department and his graduate students, Craig Zehrung and Jim Stratton, have built an air gun for classroom demonstrations that fires a ping-pong ball at over Mach 1.2 (900 mph or 1,448 km/h). As the picture above shows, that's fast enough for the hollow celluloid balls to blow a hole through a standard paddle.  Read More

A prototype of the reconnaissance ball

First responders such as firefighters or police officers are often faced with a difficult situation – they need to get into a building as fast as possible, yet it’s unsafe for them to just blindly run in without knowing what hazards await them. Some groups are attempting to address this problem by designing reconnaissance robots, although such devices can be expensive and/or complex. Boston-based Bounce Imaging, however, is putting the finishing touches on something a little more simple to use – a throwable smart ball.  Read More

The CyberFire Football Set incorporates a reflective foam ball and LED-equipped 'glasses,'...

Have you ever seen children out on the playground, playing some made-up game that only they know the rules to? Well, Play Visions’ CyberFire Football Set is kind of like a high-tech version of that. While onlookers just see a couple of kids with funny-looking headgear on, passing a foam football back and forth, those kids will see what appears to be a green or red fireball streaking through the air between them.  Read More

The Golf Ball Wrangler is a device that lets entrepreneurs harvest golf balls from the bot...

When most golfers hit a ball into the middle of a water trap, they probably just assume that the ball is destined to remain underwater for all eternity. Various enterprising individuals, however, regularly ply the depths of such ponds and lakes to retrieve those lost balls, for resale to golfers. While some of these entrepreneurs reach out into the water as far as they can with rake-like contraptions, most of them don scuba gear and go treasure-hunting. A new invention, the Golf Ball Wrangler, can now be added to their arsenal – and it has advantages over both rakes and diving.  Read More

Researchers from the University of Maine have created biodegradable golf balls, made from ...

Golf balls may be small and the ocean may be huge, yet traditional plastic-skinned balls that are whacked into the sea are nonetheless a source of pollution, and a potential hazard to marine life – anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where a whale got one of Kramer's golf balls down its blowhole? It would certainly stand to reason that biodegradable balls would be the logical choice for golfers who want to use the ocean as their driving range, and such balls do already exist. A team from the University of Maine, however, have recently created golf balls made from lobster shells ... and they have a couple of advantages over similar products.  Read More

The Corpus training balls from Rasenreich helps turn average soccer players

One thing about soccer that makes it an enjoyable game for just about any participant is that the round soccer ball is fairly predictable in the way it behaves when it’s kicked, passed, headed, thrown, rolled, etc. But how do you sharpen your reflexes, interception and dribbling skills when you’ve mastered how the round ball reacts? Unless you want to play on a rock-infested pitch (not good for your joints or equipment) a new Corpus training ball from Rasenreicht might be the new training partner you need.  Read More

The Cricket ball that measures its own speed

In the game of cricket, the express bowler holds a special place. The fastest of the fast bowlers deliver the ball at around 100mph and since the first radar guns were used to measure ball speed, the public has been fascinated with the ongoing quest to be the “fastest bowler in the world." Now you no longer need a radar gun to get an accurate reading of your speed with a new cricket ball produced that puts the measuring technology inside the ball so any budding Brett Lee can work on their speed.  Read More

The Waboba Ball - it bounces on water

It has the consistency of breast implant material, a lycra coating and unlike any ball prior to now, it bounces on water. The slight change to one of man’s oldest playthings, offers an entirely new set of ways to have fun. Swede Jan von Heland realised that throwing a tennis ball and a Frisbee were fun in the water, but a purpose-made ball with the right balance of buoyancy and surface finish and weight, that could actually bounce on water, would be so much better. Prolonged experimentation followed, and the design was eventually patented and is now arriving at market as the Waboba Ball. It is so similar to the balls we know, yet so entirely different, that it constitutes a major invention – a category buster that is perfect for children in the 10+ age group to develop their hand-eye coordination and reflexes and catching skills to extraordinary levels – in a safe environment. It’s part physical education apparatus, part training aid, and part toy and the bestpart is the price - US$8.  Read More

Reinventing the ball for new recreational pursuits

April 12, 2007 Bizit Air Products have come up with a fun idea - inflatable plastic balls with up to a 4.5 metre/15 foot diameter that can accomodate dancers, motorcycles, and even cars for a showstopping presentation that's hard to ignore. Fully sealed, the balls allow an occupant to walk on land, water, or even a sea of hands, all the while looking like they're trapped in a soap bubble.  Read More

The soccer ball V2.0

March 16, 2005 UPDATED IMAGES AND TECHNICAL INFO The World Cup of soccer is fast approaching and one of the features of the world's most watched sporting tournament is the latest soccer ball from adidas – the +Teamgeist. And well might you wonder how a soccer ball can be improved, given that technology has been working on the issue for well over 100 years. The devil is in the detail as you’d expect, but suffice to say that the new 14-panel design has resulted in a ball with the most consistent performance characteristics ever, enabling the players to show their true skills. There are fewer seams, so the ball is rounder and performs more uniformly, regardless of where it is hit. The more perfect the sphere is, the more balanced it will be, offering greater accuracy due to the predictability of its flight. The new panel shape harmonizes the energy displacement and minimizes the amount of corners, while the larger panels allow for a cleaner kicking area. Perhaps the biggest difference the players will find with the new balls will be how they play in the wet. Normally, a wet and heavy ball behaves quite differently from a dry one. It flies slower through the air, has a lower bounce and is more difficult to curl. A patented Thermal Bonding technology makes the new ball virtually waterproof with identical performance characteristsics wet or dry. The FIFA Approved Standard for water absorption stipulates no more than a 10% weight increase – the +Teamgeist’s blitzes this with less than 0.1 % weight increase. Similarly, it has significantly improved on all standards for uniformity of rebound and pressure retention and shape and size retention. Clever design and technologies has enabled adidas to reduce manufacturing tolerances to a new level .  Read More

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