International Sports Engineering Association
Newsletter -January, 2003
In This Newsletter:
1. New! The Sports Engineering Online Journal Database Is Here!
2. The 2003 Annual General Meeting
3. The Engineering of Sport 2002 – A Huge Success!
4. Sports Engineering Around The World!
• Taiwan - Professor Lin-Hwa Wang
• United Kingdom –Dr. Jane Blackwell
• United States – Professor James Sherwood
5. Job Vacancies
6. Upcoming Sports Related Conferences
The Sports Engineering Online Journal Database Is Here!
Looking for a paper on baseball aerodynamics or material science in skiing? References
can be “at your fingertips” via the new Journal Research Database on the ISEA website
(http://www.sports-engineering.org/research.html). The database contains references to
over 4000 sports related journal articles and conference proceedings. Searches can be
conducted by author, journal or keyword. Selecting a paper displays the author(s), title,
journal or conference, date, volume, pages and all keywords.
You must be a member of the ISEA to obtain a username and password. Not a member
of the ISEA? Membership costs 85 pounds (15 pounds for students). Contact Amanda
Staley (email@example.com) to process your membership or obtain your username
Mark Your Calendars For The 2003 Annual General Meeting! :
As a charitable organization, the association conducts an Annual General Meeting and.
All ISEA members are invited and encouraged to attend the ISEA Annual General
Meeting. The chairperson, secretary and treasurer report on the associations past year's
activities and the executive board for the upcoming year is elected. The 2002 Annual
General Meeting will be held on February 6, 2003, hosted by Dr. Jani Macari Pallis and
the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Westminster, London, UK.
The Engineering of Sport 2002 – A Huge Success!
Many thanks and congratulations to Prof. Sadayuki Ujihashi and his committee for the
extremely successful Engineering of Sport 2002! Two hundred delegates attended the
conference held at the Kyoto International Conference Hall in Kyoto, Japan during
September 3-6, 2002. Conference proceedings can be obtained while supplies last (see
http://www.hei.mei.titech.ac.jp/~e_s2002/). Photos can be found at the conference
website (http://www.hei.mei.titech.ac.jp/~e_s2002/) and photos and videos can be found
Congratulations to the recipients of the Young Investigator Awards!
1) N. Belluye for “Decathlon ergonomic system: An application of biomechanical studies
2) J. Q. Campbell for “Design and development of a skate that simulates carved alpine
ski turns off-snow”
3) M.J. Carre for “The curve kick of a football” and
4) M. Okamura for “A study on the evaluation of human ride comfort due to biaxial
Look forward to the 2004 conference! The 5th International Conference on Sports
Engineering, will be held September 13-16, 2004, in Davis, California, USA. The
Conference Chair is: Professor Mont Hubbard, Department of Mechanical and
Aeronautical Engineering, University of California, Davis 95616, E-mail:
Sports Engineering Around The World:
Associate Professor Lin-Hwa Wang – National Cheng-Kung University, Taiwan
In the past three years, our research has focused on the biomechanics of tennis funded by
the National Science Council, Taiwan. Research projects include “Biomechanical
Analysis in Tennis Serve” (NSC 88-2413-H-006-006) and “The Analysis of the
Correlation between the Motor Function of Upper Extremity and the Velocity of Tennis
Serve” (NSC 89-2413-H-006 -004).
In sports biomechanics studies, I have collaborated with Dr. Fong-Chin Su who is the
chairman of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and director of the motion analysis
laboratory (http://www.ncku.edu.tw/~motion). This lab is equipped with a 6 Falcon-
camera (240 Hz) motion analysis system, 4 Kistler force plates, a Pedar insole pressure
system and an EMG system. The 12 m (width) x 12 m (depth) x 8 m (height) space is
suitable for motion capture for sports. Professor Su is interested in biomechanics of
human movement, muscle mechanics, gait analysis, orthopaedic biomechanics and tissue
The project that we just completed and ongoing project are as following:
Biomechanics Analysis in Tennis Volley (NSC 89-2314-B-006-134-M08):
The volley is the most power weapon in today’s tennis competition especially in doubles.
Excellent volley skills can help win the game. A three-dimensional motion analysis
system (Motion Analysis Corporation) was used for collecting motion data. The three-
dimensional analysis model of the upper extremities was developed to analyze the
kinematics of the segments and joints. Understanding the 3D biomechanical behavior of
upper extremity during different types of tennis volleys could allow tennis players and
coaches to improve the performance of tennis technique and prevent injuries. It is also
helpful for physicians and therapists in the diagnosis of sports injuries and clinical
Optimal Camber Angle in Wheelchair Athlete (NSC 91-2413-006-010H):
Doing exercise is a basic right for every human being and it is good for health. For the
disabled, doing exercise not only improves their vitality, but also increases their
confidence. The purpose of this study is to use the motion capture system and force
measuring system to quantify the kinematics and kinetics data in wrist, elbow, and
shoulder at different angles of wheel camber. From these data, we could learn how to
promote the performance of wheelchair propulsion, to decrease the possibility of injuries
occurred and to optimize wheelchair propulsion from a biomechanical point of view.
Dr. Jane Blackford – School of Engineering and Electronics and Centre for
Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Dr. Jane Blackford shares a day in her life as she conducts “Sports Engineering and Ice
22 February 2002. Day spent in Glencoe at Mountain Technology discussing a project on
ice screws. We drive North to Fort William. The snow’s looking good for climbing
tomorrow. There's a message on my mobile: “ …we’d like to interview you about your
part in the success of the women’s curling team in the Olympics for the Sunday
Telegraph”. I call them back. We chat about the curling victory at the Salt Lake City
Olympics and my involvement with the sweep ergometer and the British team.
Back to the start of 2000 – having recently arrived in Edinburgh I'm looking for research
collaborators and keen to set up activities linking engineering, materials and sport. I meet
Dave Saunders, a physiologist who works with elite athletes. We visit Mike Hay, Scottish
curling coach, and agree to work on a sweep ergometer for training curlers. Over the next
year or so we build a device and characterise the players sweeping ability. Shortly before
the Olympics we spend a day taking data from the ladies curling team. Interesting results
– the players show quite different characteristics. From my developing understanding of
curling and ice friction I explain our findings and we discuss how this could influence
their sweeping tactics. This work sparked an interest in ice which has developed over the
last couple of years.
My research group focuses on ice mechanics and sports engineering. We work on winter
sports: climbing, curling, skiing, and snowboarding. I'm based in the School of
Engineering and Electronics and Centre for Materials Science and Engineering at the
University of Edinburgh.
A strong area of research is ice friction. A major aim of the work is to understand the
frictional processes occurring between a material and ice (or snow), and from this
scientific understanding design materials and surfaces for improved friction control on
snow or ice – so to make skis slip more and tyres grip more. We have an enthusiastic
team working on this: Dr Vasileios Koutsos (tribology and atomic force microscopy
expert – and the keenest physicist I've ever met); Dr Brett Marmo glaciologist from
Australia (gets very excited about ice – which is great); Dr Chris Jeffree (expert in low
temperature scanning electron microscopy, background in botany but with a growing
interest in snow and curling); and Dr Michael Zaiser (who can theorise and model just
about anything, he can ski pretty well too). Snow is a complex and fascinating material.
Michael and I are starting to work on avalanches – theory and predictive modelling based
on experimental structure-property relationships in snow. Daniel Higgins is the most
recent member of the ice friction team (November 2002) – he's doing a Ph.D. on tyre-ice
friction in collaboration with Ford, Jaguar, Goodyear supervised by myself and Vasileios.
Pete Watson and MP (Mark-Paul) Buckingham – my Ph.D. students – are working on
instrumenting skis and snowboards. This is to quantify how the skis and boards move
under conditions of real use. Dr Iain Lindsay and Alistair Fitchie have given excellent
input with electronics, sensors and general instrumentation know-how. Pete's work – in
collaboration with Arup – was initially to use novel sensors to monitor the skis, but
[given enough freedom from his supervisor] Pete came up with an ingenious idea: to go
beyond monitoring the skis and to get them to react to their environment and change their
properties for different conditions. MP, also a snowboarding instructor, will use his
instrumented snowboards as a training aid for elite boarders. Pete and MP have founded a
company – ReacTec Ltd. – to commercialise the "reactive" skis.
I continue to be involved in climbing and mountaineering (from both going-out-on-the-
hills and academic perspectives). My first postgrad student, Ed Maycock, worked on the
development of an attachment loop for a climbing harness in collaboration with a
UK mountaineering equipment manufacturer Troll Ltd, funded by Steve Haake's DTI
initiative. For a number of years I've been involved with the British Mountaineering
Council Technical Committee – here I get to apply my metallurgical skills along with a
knowledge of climbing to various items of failed equipment. In addition it generates
rather exciting examples and case studies for our honours course on deformation, fracture
and failure of materials. Much of this accumulated expertise has been set out in my
chapter (Materials in mountaineering) for Mike Jenkin's book on Materials in Sport –
which should be in print in early 2003.
Professor James Sherwood - Department of Mechanical Engineering and Director
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Baseball Research Center
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell Baseball Research Center (UMLBRC) was
founded in 1998 with a $400K seed grant from Major League Baseball and Rawlings
Sporting Goods. The mission of the Baseball Research Center is be a resource for
applying scientific and engineering methods to understand the equipment used in baseball
and for the education of students interested in these applications. Since its inception, the
Center has concentrated on bats and balls and received over $600K in grants from
sponsors such as the NCAA, MLB, NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) and
numerous bat and ball manufacturers. Professor James Sherwood of the Department of
Mechanical Engineering is the director of the facility. There are presently 12
undergraduate and 5 graduate students doing research at the UMLBRC.
In 1999, the UMLBRC was tasked by the NCAA to develop a test protocol for evaluating
the performance of non-wood (aluminum) bats. The NCAA was concerned that the
college game was becoming more and more biased to the offense with the advent of ever
improving alloys. To maintain the integrity of the game and balance of offense vs.
defense, the NCAA moved to put a ceiling on bat performance and needed an
independent facility to develop the test standard and be available for compliance testing.
The UMLBRC was fortunate to be awarded those tasks. As a result, all bat models must
first be evaluated at the UMLBRC and pass performance limits before the model can be
used in NCAA competition.
In 2000, the UMLBRC completed an exhaustive study for MLB to investigate as to
whether or not the major league baseball had been “juiced”. In April 2000, a record
number of homeruns had been hit, and MLB and baseball fans were concerned that the
baseball was livelier than in past years. Larry Fallon, a doctoral candidate at the
UMLBRC, worked with Dr. Sherwood and MLB to examine every phase of the
manufacture of the baseball as well as its performance in static and dynamic tests. This
investigation included a visit to the Rawlings facility in Costa Rica, where the baseball is
assembled, as well as visits to the manufacturers of the rubber pill, the wool windings, the
cowhides and the cotton laces. The outcome of the study was that the baseball was made
and performed within MLB specifications. The record homeruns was not due to a
There are currently 3 major MS thesis being pursued at the UMLBRC. Patrick Drane, a
current MS candidate and Massachusetts native, is investigating the effect of work
hardening on aluminum baseball bats. Using the Center’s state-of-the-art hitting
machine, baseball bats have been subjected to repeated “perfect” hits. The goal of the
research is to conclude as to whether or not the performance of metal bats increases or
drops due to use in the field. This thesis is also exploring how moisture content affects
the performance of wood bats. The goal of this study is to understand how changes in
climate and storage may affect wood bat performance at the major league level. Gayatri
Vedula, an MS candidate from India, is studying the relationship amongst the COP
(center of percussion), vibrational node in the barrel and sweet spot using experimental
and numerical methods. Shintaro Nabeshima, an MS student from Japan, is completing
an experimental study to compare the batted-ball performance of US vs. Japanese bats.
The job vacancy list on the ISEA web site (http://www.sports-
engineering.co.uk/jobs.html) has several new position listings. The list is updated
frequently. Since our last newsletter the following positions have been posted:
- technology assistant at the National Coaching and Training Centre, University of
- internships with the Adidas Innovation team in Herzogenaurach, Germany and Portland,
- a Ph.D. Research Studentship (3 year full-time, Loughborough University) in
'Engineering the Behaviour of Materials for Synthetic Sport Pitch Cushioning'.
The most current information regarding these conferences can be found on the ISEA web
The Third World Congress of Science and Racket Sports & The Eighth International
Table Tennis Federation Sports Science Congress, May 17-19 2003, Paris
The International Society of Biomechanics XIXth Congress 2003, Dunedin, New
Zealand, July 6-11, 2003, http://www.ISB2003.otago.ac.nz/.
2nd International Congress on Tennis Science & Technology, July 28-30, 2003,
Roehampton, UK, http://www.itftennis.com/html/rule/framesettst.html.
3rd Symposium on Sports Surfaces, August 20-22, 2003, Calgary,
ISBS SYMPOSIUM XXI: 2003 - Beijing, China, August 25 - 30, 2003 at the National
Research Institute of Sports Science, Beijing, China, Note: Please check visa regulations
early! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Congress on Sports Dynamics, September 1-3, 2003, Singapore, Raffles
City Convention Centre, Conference Secretariat, ICSD 2003, Please email for further
Joint Conference of BASES and BASEM: The Cutting Edge, September 3-7 2003,
Sheffield, UK, http://www.thecuttingedge.info.
Materials Engineering & Technology in Sports International Conference, September 24-
25 2003, Birmingham, UK, http://www.iom3.org.
XIIIth International Conference on Mechanics and Medicine & Biology, November 12-
15 2003, Tainan, Taiwan, http://www.ncku.edu.tw/~ICMMB. Call for Papers and
Submission of Abstracts: The XIIIth International Conference on Mechanics in Medicine
and Biology will be held in Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan from November 12-
15, 2003. You are invited to submit abstracts from any branch of science and engineering
relating to the Congress theme, topics and application areas. The official language of the
Congress is English. The important dates are: Submission of Abstracts: April 15, 2003;
Notification of Acceptance: June 15, 2003. For details, please refer to our website at
STMS 6th International Conference on Medicine and Science in Tennis - The LTA
Sports Science and Sports Medicine Conference, June 19-20, 2004, London, United
Kingdom. Held in conjunction with the Wimbledon Championships; For more
information contact: Dr. Michael Turner, LTA, The Queens Club, London W14 9EG,
United Kingdom. Phone +44 207 381 7071, Fax + 44 207 381 3001, E-mail:
5th International Conference on Sports Engineering, September 13-16, 2004, Davis,
California, USA, Conference Chair: Professor Mont Hubbard, Department of Mechanical
and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California, Davis 95616, Email:
The ISEA newsletter is a publication of the International Sports Engineering Association,
designed to inform members of association activity three times each year. The ISEA
Newsletter is distributed to all members of the ISEA discussion list (SPORTS-
ENGINEERING@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) and is posted in the News and Events section of
the ISEA web site (http://www.sports-engineering.co.uk/news.html). For the latest
information always check the ISEA web pages (http://www.sports-engineering.co.uk/)
which are updated frequently. ISEA members with newsworthy items related to the
association can submit them directly to Dr. Jani Macari Pallis (email@example.com).