What's the next step for these guys, eh? (Sorry, couldn't help adding that Canadianism.) They have customers for whom they do tests, but are there any plans to produce machines and sell them to the stick makers?
They actually aren't planning on selling the robots to stick manufacturers because they don't feel like that's the right business model. The robots are expensive and the manufacturers won't really use them enough to justify a capital expenditure, is what they told me. They are, however, offering the stick testing as a service to stick manufacturers and have several contracts already in play. I believe they are also working with partners on using the robot testing to explore innovative technologies like new materials and such to enhance stick performance.
I hope the next step is building more of these. Not for testing, though. For playing! Robocup has little 'bots playing on a small field. Two teams of these would put that to shame. Heck, they're big enough to slap the soccer 'bots into the net.
I'm sure if there's any kind of market for these, more will be built. And given the team's experience deploying similar robot technology for testing golf clubs, I'm sure they are on the prowl for more sports-related applications.
I was wondering if these guys had any experience with golf club machines. That's a great example where this type of technology is used all the time to help develop better clubs and balls. I'm just a little surprised that there is not more of a market for these devices in the hockey market. I suppose the average hockey stick doesn't cost as much as the $300 dollar driver.
I would think the product liability costs would eat up any profit that could be made selling these to the public. Can you imagine the lawsuit if some over zealous coach overmatched his goalie by dialing this thing up to the next speed?
This is similar to a pitching machine, but the object here is to get in front of the puck. I think it would be easy to seriously injure a young hockey player by misjudging his/her ability and the speed of the puck.
@Tool_Maker: I would have to agree that there is probably far too much liability to turn this into the "pitching machine" equivalent for hockey for the mainstream public. These machines deliver repeated slap shots of up to 110 mph. Professional hockey players might be primed to return these, but not the average Joe or even the avid hockey enthusiast.
@jmiller: You were right on to spot a correlation with this type of testing and what's used in golf clubs. The guys got their start doing testing on the golf equipment and that was the genesis for the idea for the hockey robot. As far as the cost of sticks go, they actually do sell for upwards of $300 so there is motivation to support testing that ensures the composite sticks don't break all that easily.
First impression when digging into the article on optimizing composites for Hockey Sticks, was, “Gosh! the DOE fixture is going to be more of a design challenge than the actual composite design!” … and well; in fact, that’s where the article went.Accordingly, following that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, the world now has a wonderful, proven method of repetitively testing new composite materials for hockey stick design. This is what I call a game-changer.(Beautiful Robot, BTW) Subsequently, I see the NHL experiencing a gradual increase in scoring statistics in the coming years, not unlike the steroid era of MLB in the ‘90s. But this time, in a good way.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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