Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show


The Adidas Jabulani, official ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Photo: University of Adelai...

Professor Derek Leinweber has been studying soccer balls. He’s interested in the physics behind them, and is particularly intrigued by the design of the official ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, the Adidas Jabulani. He thinks it will behave in a much different fashion than the previous World Cup ball, throwing goalkeepers for a loop - all because of the ridges on its skin.  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

Robokeeper puts his body on the line. He is as safe as a brick wall built in front of the ...

At every live football game and in every pub around the world, someone exasperated fan watching the world game will yell: “even I could have beaten that goalie." But try beating this goal-keeper. He has the reflexes of a computerized cat. Cameras capture the ball and its movements and direct the ‘keeper to make an interception. If you can’t spear the ball into the top corners of the goal – you don’t have a chance. Apart from a skill developer, the Robokeeper is also a lot of fun. And he’s for hire.  Read More

A young lad tests out the prototype sOccket power-generating soccer ball in a Durban, Sout...

What kid doesn’t like kicking around a soccer ball? Imagine if this fun activity could also provide enough energy to power something useful in a modest off-grid African village, like a reliable light to cook by or an emergency mobile phone. The sOccket is a prototype soccer ball that captures kinetic energy when it is kicked or thrown, stores it in an internal battery and makes that energy available for a myriad of small but useful purposes. In other words, it’s a fun, portable energy-harvesting power source that is designed to take a kicking.  Read More

Sporting gloves and boots with 16X times more grip in the dry and 8X in the wet

October 25, 2006 There’s nothing as important as a competitive edge in the high-stakes game of world class sport and the recent launch of a new manufacturer in the sportswear industry with a seeming significant advantage will be interesting to watch. Simon Skirrow has spent three decades in the global sports industry, including many years at Adidas in charge of global marketing, promotions, product and sales, and his new company, SS Sportswear was established less than three years ago to bring its Nomis grip technologies to market. Independent tests show that Nomis Control Leather Technology gives up to 16 times more grip and control on the ball in the dry and eight times more grip and control when the leather gets wet. Not surprisingly, quite a few professionals have trialed the technology and a few have walked away from lucrative contracts with competitor products to stay with the Nomis technology, most notably Liverpool star Harry Kewell amongst more than 40 professionals that have begun wearing the boots. Nomis is available in both boots and gloves in the UK, USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the internet and the company is seeking further international distributors. Adding weight to the professionals who have adopted the new technology, two of NOMIS' boot designs took first and second place in the 2006 Soccer International Magazine Boot Test, beating big-name brand competitors including Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok and Umbro. Both NOMIS boots scored top marks for comfort, stability/manoeuvrability, touch/feel and received a perfect score for the 'value for money' category.  Read More

Interfacing real world ball skills with the computer game

August 21, 2006 The Computer Human Interface (CHI) comes in many different guises, and has come a long way since we punched holes in cards with paperclips. Indeed, games appear to be the key laboratory for the CHI as we continually see new ways of getting real world and virtual world to mix in a computer game. In recent times we’ve seen such interesting game interfaces as the Bodypad, Xboard, Entertaible,, the mental typrewriter, and the Virtusphere and now we’re really impressed with ICE’s Striker Pro which is a soccer striking game where the player takes a penalty kick at a success goal – just the World Cup was decided. The machine records the speed and angle of the soccer ball after it is kicked and reads the information into the game in real time so a virtual ball is kicked into the game with the same power and trajectory for an incredibly realistic experience, complete with goalie histrionics, umpires call and crowd feedback. The machine retails for US$11,000 and the level of difficulty can be adjusted from two year old all the way to world cup professional. Now the technology used to create the Striker Pro is being adapted to other sports and the developers of the Striker Pro, eballgames is seeking distribution partners wishing to develop games for other football codes, golf, baseball, hockey, tennis or any other sport. “We have been getting it all working just right for the last few years and we now know we can build the interface and the software for any sport, and deliver 100 machines on time, so now we are seeking people to work with around the world,” said eballgames founder Tony Course.  Read More

Quinspin unravelling the mysteries of soccer striking skills

June 24, 2006 The collection of key data with which sportspersons can improve their skills is still in its very infancy. Heart rates, recovery times and sprint times are measurements of fitness but are only one layer of the data and don’t reflect the magical skills which define champions. The time is fast approaching when we will be able to measure exactly how much David Beckham can bend the flight of a soccer ball, how much Roger Federer can make a tennis ball drop with spin or how Shane Warne varies the flight and turn of a cricket ball. Champions have the ability to flight a ball, to make it spin, curve and dip at will, and these things are hard to see, much harder to measure and infinitely harder to teach . The advent of Hawkeye is beginning to shed light on the mysteries of tennis and cricket upon which the former player experts were once the only available diviners of wisdom, but until Quinspoin, there has been no equivalent for the World Game – soccer! After years researching the dynamic testing of footballs including first-hand experience working with adidas to test +Teamgeist the official 2006 FIFA World Cup match ball, Loughborough University expert Paul Neilson is part of the team of inventors at Sports Dynamics that has developed the world’s first coaching tool to objectively measure the killer skill of the perfect strike.  Read More

Soccer World Cup promises forefront of live sport services

March 5, 2006 The FIFA World Cup has inspired more than a few brave plans for the employment of technology over the past few years, many of which never materialised. One that will be on show when the world descends on Germany in June and July is Servingo, a personalized portal designed to help the three million expected visitors to find their way around the twelve World Cup venues from Berlin to Munich. Every conceivable aspect of information related to the tournament is aggregated through the portal which was built at a cost of eight million euros with a view to helping World Cup visitors feel that they are "visiting friends". The portal is amazing, with a range of innovative features such as personally-tailored information systems and personal diary pages, but the highlight is the 3D reconstruction of scenes from the soccer match that enables the viewer to view a replay of key scenes from any point in the stadium – from the referee's perspective or the eyes of the goalkeeper. To make this possible, the team constructed 3D models of stadiums and compiled catalogs of players. An ingenious software program manages to generate the scenes from TV images. Sophisticated algorithms compare the 'visual template' of the virtual 3D players with the TV image and keep adjusting the virtual player's posture until it matches the video image. In this way, picture by picture, a scene from the match can be reproduced from any angle.  Read More

adidas shows first modular soccer boot

January 31, 2006 adidas unveiled a new soccer footwear concept late last week in Germany which could have far-reaching ramifications for the world's fashion footwear and sporting footwear industries. The boot is modular and will be known as the +F50 TUNIT. This new soccer boot concept allows players to customize, adapt and tune their boots to any weather, any pitch and their very own personal style. The revolutionary +F50 TUNIT is easily constructed from three interchangeable components: the upper, the chassis and the studs. Each component comes in a variety of styles and functions. Simply by mixing and matching their components of choice, each player can easily build and tune their boots.  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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