Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Slam Dunk

PostedMarch 11, 2012

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lede: Want to know how much force goes into a crushing basketball slam dunk? If so, you’re in luck. A scientific measurement tool was just developed for the N-B-A’s Slam Dunk Contest.

Randy Atkins: It looks, feels, and acts like a regular basketball net…but there’s electrically-conductive rubber tubing inside that stretches – causing changes in current – as a ball goes through.

Michael Bove: We have an equation that takes the amount of stretch and calculates the amount of energy in the ball.

Randy Atkins: Michael Bove, of M-I-T’s Media Lab, says extensive engineering tests have made it very sensitive.

Michael Bove: It accounts for whether the ball is going through vertically or whether the ball is hitting the side of the net and rolling around in the net for a while before coming out.

Randy Atkns: Bove thinks the technology can be adapted for other sports, like baseball pitching nets, and perhaps some everyday uses. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.