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Behold: The SparkBowl

In honor of last weekend's Super Bowl, we give you a slightly more techy take on games you can play with a football.

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Greetings, nerds!

Well, another Super Bowl has come and gone, and I didn’t watch it. I had the love of football driven out of me after watching my childhood home team (Minnesota Vikings) choke, and choke, and choke for decades. And after this year, they’re clearly not done choking. Never again, man. I’ll watch competitive eating instead.

Anyway, we’ve put together a little something to ease your pain (OK, my pain). We’ve taken a standard Nerf football and inserted a Razor IMU inside it to pit a few SFE "athletes" against one another to see who can throw a funny oblong ball the very bestest. The prize? A $10 Starbucks card, of course! Coffee makes us go fast!

Lastly, the code for this project can be found here. Have fun!

Comments 12 comments

  • Utter Tom Foolery... Your data has inspired me to calibrate my expectations on the extremes my project will endure. As a token of my appreciation for you and your teams efforts, my wish for you is that your children be shielded from the traumatization of gluten and soy. Go Olympic bad butts !

  • Did you recalibrate the thing between tosses?

  • Nice job Blake, way to represent Nebraska. Go Huskers!

  • Why not put the sensor in the bat? A baseball is a known mass and the velocity of the ball could be tracked with optic sensors, perhaps.

    • Yeah, I think that would be a better bet than trying to measure a baseball directly. It will certainly experience less acceleration than a ball, more space in the bat to carve out for gear... and you could determine how accurate any given swing was based on the direction of the force vector (redundant?), provided the batter always held the bat the same way. Train with that for a while and you'll be hitting home runs all day long.

  • This is very good post. Thanks you

  • "Tounge in [proverbial] cheek" comments: Although I like coffee, I really DON'T like Starbucks. Probably a good thing that iikely anyone at SF could beat me at this competition!

    With buffering, it took me nearly half an hour to see the whole video... [argh...]

    While I was watching you talk about the maximum accellerations, the thought occurred to me "I wonder what the accelleration of a baseball is when it's hit for a home run?"

    • Something on the order of 12,500G, assuming a 90mph fastball. ∆v of around 27km/s.

    • Ooooh... also good. Much higher acceleration would have to be tolerated for when it gets hit by a bat.

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