Top Online Resources for Sports and Technology News

Today we live in a world where technology is constantly evolving and with it comes big changes to our everyday lives.  In the context of sports that means the way we watch, play, and practice can change from one day to the next.  We stay as up to date as we can at Diamond Kinetics and expect that many who follow us would like to as well. There is a lot of information online about all these new and exciting innovations but here is a list of the top sites to keep you up to date on technology in sports.

Game Theory 

Game Theory is a blog started by the Economist that reports on the politics, economics, science, and statistics of sports.  The blog covers a diverse set of topics on sports from around the world.

Science of Sport 

Science of Sport is a website dedicated to bringing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level of analysis to sports around the world.  Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas are sports scientists from South Africa that aim to communicate the sports aspects of science and physiology in a detailed and nuanced way for a broad range of audiences.

Sports Technology Podcast 

There is an enormous amount of science-based work that happens largely behind the scenes before, during, and after athletes hit the field and products hit the market.  Through interviews with athletes, researchers, engineers and designers, the podcast aims to reveal the cool technological intricacies of sport and give the listeners an inside look at the sports technology field.

Mounir Zok Daily 

Mounir has one of the coolest jobs on the planet.  He is in charge of innovation and sports technology at the US Olympic Committee.  He publishes a regular article on the latest news in sports and technology with great articles from around the world.

MIT Sports Analytics Conference

The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is an event for industry professionals, students, and fans to discuss the role of analytics in sports.  Beyond information about the conference this site has links to previous talks and panels from earlier conferences.

Deadspin Regressing 

Regressing is a new component to the Deadspin sports page that highlights some of the more technical aspects of sports.  A recent article featured a synopsis of unique patents for the game of football.

New Tech Websites/Blogs

These sites have more general new technology news but feature sports specific innovations periodically.

We’ll continue to pass along great places for sports technology information, and specifically the information that relates to baseball, softball and swing science!

How Diamond Kinetics and Other Sports Brands Use 3D Printing

3D Printing technology is changing the way that many entrepreneurs and startups bring to market their first line of products. The technology has been around for over thirty years but for the most part been contained to larger, more industrial enterprises. Now, as prices fall and barriers to accessing the machines are removed, more and more companies are finding ways to take advantage of the technology.

3D Printing takes advantage of a process called additive or layered manufacturing. The process starts with a digital 3D model designed on a computer. When you press ‘Print’, your digital 3D design is sliced into many thin layers (~100 microns or about 2x the size of a human hair). These layers are the blueprint for constructing the part. The 3D printer takes these blueprints and deposits thin layers of either metal, plastic or ceramic material. The specific outline and shape of the part layer is then treated so that it hardens. This consolidation process repeats many times, cross-section by cross-section, and the final part is completed once all the layers are added. For those new to the technology, here’s a video overview of a 3D Printer in action.

3D printer making mount
SwingTracker prototype mount being printed

Diamond Kinetics has been using the technology for some time to prototype baseball bat sensor fixtures. The Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker sensor attaches to the knob of the baseball bat, and we’re constantly iterating to make the fixture better. 3D Printing (available thanks to the Tech Shop in Pittsburgh) enables us to try out different designs and optimize the positioning the the sensor to get the most visually pleasing, effective and player-friendly design possible.

3D Printing is not new to sports. In fact, top companies like Nike, Reebok and Burton Snowboards have been using the technology for years to design cutting-edge equipment for their athletes. Companies like these have been pushing the envelope for what is possible with the technology. I worked with Burton Snowboards to improve their snowboard bindings using 3D Printing. We printed bindings and components using a 3D Printing process called laser sintering (one of the most sophisticated and advanced forms of the technology). The benefit of 3D Printing these parts was that they could be used by professional snowboarders to do ‘On-Snow’ testing. This saved time and money during the design process…not to mention it was pretty fun to go out to the mountain to ‘test’ the parts.

yellow/black 3D printed cleatAnother example of 3D Printing in sports comes from Nike. The company debuted a customized football spike for last year’s NFL combine. The shoe was outfitted with a customized base plate. Because 3D Printing allows you to create intricate and complex designs without additional cost or tooling, the spikes look much different than a conventional spike. The reason for this was that cleat elements were specifically designed to maximize how fast the athlete could run by matching the cleat placement with the shape of the shoe.

One of, if not the most attractive, use of the technology is that it enables highly customized shapes to be created without the use of expensive tooling. This has several implications in sports, including baseball. Parts can be personalized for a much lower cost and this has the potential to give athletes the advantage of having their equipment specifically tuned to their body type and ability. Diamond Kinetics will continue to use the technology to make the best product possible and we will be sure to keep you posted on how our sensor cap iterations evolve as we get closer to launch.