Dutch sports innovations in the spotlight

The Sportinnovator programme stimulates innovation that is not only beneficial for elite athletes, grassroots sports, and for people who don’t exercise enough, but can also generate economic, societal, and sportive benefits. Take a look at a couple of these Dutch innovations.

Steering assistance in handlebars prevents cyclist from falling

a woman on a special developed bike with steerassistThe Dutch road safety institute SWOV has established that the total number of serious traffic accidents is still decreasing every year. However, accidents involving cyclists increased by some 30% between 2000 and 2010. Serious bike accidents are often the result of cyclists losing control of the bicycle, and, in many cases, the cyclist is an elderly person. Technical University Delft and the bicycle manufacturer Royal Gazelle have developed a prototype of a bike with smart steering assistance. That may help to reduce the number of falls with bicycles, using a technique that is also used in top track cycling. The bike has a smart motor in the handlebars that provides steering assistance if the cyclist is in danger of falling.

Outdoor sports accommodations providing solar energy

Solar carpetUp to 80% of outdoor sports accommodations is left unused during daytime. Wouldn’t it be great to use this huge amount of surface to make the city a more durable place to live in?

With Solar Carpet it is possible to cover artificial grass surfaces with flexible, rollable solar panels. In this way, sports playfields (and many other surfaces) become multi-functional: used for sports and generating solar energy. When it’s sporting-time, the system simply rolls up and is safely stored in a casing on the edge of the field.

The world’s first circular climbing holds

climbing wall with circular climbing holdsResearch indicates that the global market for climbing holds will double in the next ten years. Only in Europe, 800 climbing halls are estimated to be built in this period. Greenholds climbing holds will be the world’s first circular climbing holds used for the Olympic climbing sport. The aim is to make the infrastructure of the climbing gyms more sustainable. At the end of the lifecycle, 100% recycling of the product will be possible. Not only the product but also the circular business model will become non-disruptive.

Prototypes are now being tested and market introduction is foreseen in 2021. The ambition is that the climbing holds that will be used at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will be circular.

Non-chemical weed control on sport playfields

visual explaining Non-chemical weed control on sport playfieldsHow can one develop automatic electrical weed control for sports and recreation areas without the use of chemicals and emissions to air, soil, and water? This question contains some important elements in ‘greening’ the sports.

Together with the University of Wageningen, Ramm BV develops recognition with camera technology and plant-specific pictures. With ‘deep learning algorithms’ the computer can recognize the five most common weeds, in a velocity of five to twenty frames per second. With the use of Rootwave technology, the weed is killed with electricity. The technical features are combined on a machine running behind a compact tractor.

The world’s first compostable artificial grass surface

compostable artificial grass surfaceThe advantages of using synthetic turf for outdoor sports are manyfold. Sporting on an artificial turf pitch is possible 24 hours a day and all days of the week without a resting pause that natural grass playfields need. However, through wear and tear, the spread of artificial fibre, as well as the infill granules that artificial grass produces, is harmful to the environment.
The Sweco company is dedicated to the mitigation of this environmental impact. At the end of its life cycle, the synthetic turf should be disposed of sustainably. Sweco has taken the lead in forming a consortium of expert service providers to solve this problem. Through this consortium,
a unique type of fibre and artificial grass surface is being developed, consisting of fibres that, under the right conditions, can be composted at the end of their usage.

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Website: www.sportinnovator.nl/english
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