New 3D printed airless basketball. Author: Taken from twitter
WASHINGTON, April 5th. Sports equipment company Wilson has unveiled a rare prototype 3D printed basketball that doesn’t need to be inflated and features a futuristic design with a transparent grille.
Basketball technology has come a long way since the early days of the sport, when stitched genuine leather was the main material, Wilson is trying to completely change the game with an intriguing concept that completely eliminates pneumatic pressure.
Called the Wilson Airless Prototype, experts say the new ball is based on the elasticity of a polymer material that provides the same bounce as traditional basketballs.
This option eliminates the need to inflate the ball to a certain pressure and also eliminates known problems such as the risk of puncture and air leaking through the inflation valve for an extended period of time.
One of the ball’s most intriguing features is the lattice design. Wilson retained the traditional binding pattern so that players could place their fingers in the seam lines for better grip, comments website Amersports.com. Since containment of air pressure inside is no longer required, this ball is transparent, with hundreds of small hexagonal holes through which air passes.
Wilson 3D printed its airless prototype using selective laser sintering (SLS) additive manufacturing to fuse multiple layers of polymer powder together. The main challenge was to reproduce the bounce of a traditional basketball.
The Wilson Airless prototype was unveiled during NBA All-Star Weekend when Houston Rockets forward K. J. Martin was filmed bouncing around a bit and shooting at the basket.
The company acknowledges that this is still a prototype that needs further testing as there are several questions left unanswered about this intriguing invention.
For example, it is not known how passing air affects the trajectory of a hoop hit or how it reacts to rotation.
Source: Juventud Rebelde