Slam Force G’s: Quantifying the Force of a Monster Dunk

In December, 2011 Turner Sports partnered with the MIT Media Lab to create the SlamForce Net, a basketball net that incorporates segments of conductive fiber whose resistance changes with degree of stretch. By measuring this resistance over time, hardware associated with this net can calculate force and speed of a basketball traveling through the net. Applications include training, toys that indicate the force and speed on a display, “dunk competitions,” and augmented reality effects on television broadcasts. This net is far less expensive and more robust than other approaches to measuring data about the ball (e.g. photosensors or ultrasonic sensors) and doesn’t require a physical change to the hoop or backboard other than providing electrical connections to the net. Another application of the material is a flat net that can measure velocity of a ball hit or pitched into it (as in baseball or tennis), and can measure position as well (e.g. for determining whether a practice baseball pitch would have been a strike).

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