May 2009 Newsletter
Welcome to the Design for Sport newsletter. We hope you enjoy it and feel able to contribute to future editions - our aim is to showcase the role of innovation and great design.
This is just incredible. Available soon at a cost of 99,000 Euros the water jet pack is a real device - no wires, no helicopter or crane, this thing really flies. A new sport anyone?
It's a shame you have to have some water around to use it properly, and it might be problematical to use it at sea if there's a chop on the waves, but imagine if you have a giga-yacht and are bored of jet skis...
Sport has always been lauded as example of how multi-racial / ethnic communities can brought together through competition.
Here are a couple of examples of grass root cricket bringing Jewish and Palistinian boys together and how football is, perhaps cynically, trying to reach out to minority supporters.
It did cause us to pause and consider the issues relating specifically to designing sports products for world territories - what limitations were there and how did they impact on designers, manufacturers and retailers? Clearly colour ways, graphics and phrases are an obvious area to be aware of - examples of misunderstood spelling, rude words and insults abound.
But what about materials? Some cultures prefer a slightly more "bling" approach to detailing and others prefer technical areas but are there cultures that would not accept a particular material on religious or ethnicity grounds? Many cultures have a long history of repairing products that fail, how can the recycling eco-process be best applied here?
Read the stories here:
Have Asians embraced the beautiful game?
Cricket breaks down Israel boundaries
Sport product Innovation
A new start-up based in the States has developed a device that retro fits into helmets to enable individual athletes and coaches to see how hot they are getting. Reportedly there were 33 deaths due to heat stroke whilst playing US Football in America last year - plus many more players injured and incapacitated.
The device works by using a simple thermistor placed in the helmet, or in a headband or bandana linked to a RFID device that can be interrogated by a hand held PDA. The coach can then get a real time trace of how the players are doing and if they're approaching meltdown.
This is a very interesting use of existing technology that offers a safety angle to players. Perhaps it should be slightly simplified - something that warns the player first with an audible alarm - then it makes it possible for ordinary athletes to make use of it without having to carry a coach and PDA around with you. Lots of other non-sport applications with this as well.
The UK government has yet again had to rescue the Olympics from financial disaster. The athlete's village, 1 one billion GBP project, was to be financed by Lend Lease, an Australian construction company. But after the economic downturn, it was unable to raise the money.
Injecting 324 million GBP to stop the project from falling behind or perhaps failing entirely the Government has now had to effectively nationalise two construction projects, the media centre, which cost £355 million, also failed to attract private funding.
There must now be real doubt as to whether the 9.3 billion GBP budget of the games will be kept to, despite Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister telling MP's that it would not be exceeded.
We will see, but no one at DFS would bet against it...