Slam Force Net
V. Michael Bove Jr., Santiago Alfaro and Daniel Novy
A basketball net 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 the only physical change required for the hoop or backboard is 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); it can measure position as well (e.g., for determining whether a practice baseball pitch would have been a strike).