Archive for category Gadgets

Portable Soccer Goal Profile: The Duralite Transformable Soccer Goal

Posted by Noel on Wednesday, 1 December, 2010

Today’s profile covers the portable, transforming soccer goal series, from goal manufacturer, Duralite.

Duralite Portable Soccer Goal (Transformable)

Duralite Portable Soccer Goal (Transformable)

The first question that comes to mind when someone reads the word, “transformable” is, what do you mean by transformable? Thankfully the answer is fairly simple, the goal can be adjusted so that it will function in up to three different sizes. For instance, if you bought one of the full size, 8’ x 24’ soccer goals, that same goal could also be adjusted to 8’ x 16’ and 8’ x 8’.

This transformability function works because the goal is portable. It comes in a package of 7 major parts and 6 joiner parts. The 7 major posts are all of equal size so when you remove one or two of those posts, the entire goal changes size. This same fact makes for a low profile package when the goal is disassembled and it also means that an entire league quality, 8’ x 24’ portable soccer goal can be shipped for less than $60.00.

This goal series comes in the eight standard sizes used by soccer leagues internationally. 8’ x 24’, 7’ x 21’, 6.5’ x 18.5’, 6’ x 18’, 6.5 x 12’, 6’ x 12’, 5’ x 10’ and 4.5 x 9’. The heaviest of these goals is only 60lbs and they are constructed of 2” round aluminum tube.

2" Duralite Portable Soccer Goal Post

2" Duralite Portable Soccer Goal Post

Two factors make these the most durable portable soccer goals on the market. The first is that they are constructed of thick, yet lightweight, 1/8” wall aluminum. The second is that they have only two parts that require welding. These are important points because the only things that will kill a goal are damage from overuse or transportation, and damage from worn out welds, so quality welds and as few of them as possible, make for a long lasting goal. Also, metal that thick can withstand cracks from a baseball bat.

The goal is also designed so that it must be anchored in order to work. Quite literally, it will not stay up unless it is assembled with its anchoring system in place. Once the anchor is in place, the goal does not move. This is done to ensure the safety of the people using the soccer goals. The anchor system works by driving four separate 10” stakes at 20 degree angles in the back of the goal. The stakes then cross to make an underground X on either side of the goal, making it immovable. For turf fields, the goal requires a separate back bottom bar to give counter weight on the back.

The goal is surprisingly affordable, ranging from $99.00 for the smallest version to an even $300.00 for a full sized portable. Just as a heads up, as is common with league goal manufacturers, nets are sold separately.

These soccer goals can be found at Duralite’s online store.

Could Robot Soccer Players Beat the World’s Best?

Posted by Noel on Friday, 24 September, 2010

According to Claude Sammut, Robots compete to be the besta computer science professor in Australia, robot soccer players will one day (he thinks by 2050) defeat the best soccer players in the world. As an example of the possibility, he referenced a bet that John McCarthy and Donald Michie made a with then Scottish chess champion, David Levy that a computer could one day beat the best human player in the world at chess. Which did eventually happen.

With that in mind, Sammut is involved in a project called robocup, where robots have been programmed to learn how to play soccer. Here is what he had to say in regards to a team of robots one day defeating the world’s best humans:

“RoboCup aims, by the year 2050, to develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team.

“To achieve this, or come even close, the robots will have to be able to sense and act in completely unstructured environments. This will require major advances in perception, decision making, learning, and co-operative behaviours.

“Not forgetting that robots are integrated hardware and software systems, significant advances will also be needed in sensors, actuators, energy storage, and materials.”

Well, there you have it. But is 40 years enough time? The bet referenced above stated that the computer would beat the chess player within 10 years, but it took closer to thirty. This is obviously a much tougher task, as it involves a moving robot that not only needs to be able to trap, pass and shoot a ball, it would have to adjust to and compete with 21 other moving players. But science is moving quickly and only time will tell.

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SOccket the Soccer Ball/Generator

Posted by Noel on Monday, 14 June, 2010
sOccket

sOccket

Four enterprising women from Cambridge, MA have developed a pretty clever gadget that is currently in beta testing in the United States and in Africa. It is called SOccket, a plug-in soccer ball that captures energy during play and stores the juice for later use as a power source. The idea behind sOccket is to give a kid in a developing nation a ball that can be used in a game of soccer after school, then brought home, and used to power a basic lamp to do homework—even if there are no buildings with electricity for 100 miles around. The ball uses an inductive coil mechanism similar to those found in shake-to-charge flashlights. Less than 10 minutes of play can power an LED light for three hours.

Under the right circumstances this ball could be pretty useful, a light or radio when you are completely off of the grid is definitely handy and according to the website it can be used to charge a cell phone. Though it should be pointed out that cell phone reception would be sketchy at best 100 miles from an electricity source. Either way it is probably safe to say that we won’t be using soccer balls to replace coal or oil fired generators in the near future, but this gadget can certainly be listed under the cool idea category.