Sports & Leisure

Currently commercially available Australian world first products and technologies in sport and leisure.

 World's most advanced ski goggle lens

In the past 20 years, there have been just three major innovations in improving ski goggle vision. The dual-lens concept of the 1960s was the first, and Everclear, an anti-fog lens developed in France was the second. The third and most revolutionary development to date is the unique multi-layer Carrera Ultrasight lens invented by champion snow skier, instructor and lecturer Adalbert Leibetseder and developed by Carrera-Rosbert International Pty Ltd.

The unique new lens has a brightening effect in bad weather and a dimming one in sunshine. It also absorbs glare and provides 100% UV light protection. In short, it is the world's most effective all weather lens, for every conceivable light and visibility condition.

The Carrera Ultrasight is a multi-component lens incorporating a grey lens to reduce excessive visible light, a crystalline graphite filter to eradicate indirect reflection, and a yellow lens to cut the blue light and increase contrast.

Brightness causes the eye's pupils to contract, people squint, resulting in reduced vision. Grey is the most neutral colour of the spectrum and does not distort colours. In flat light and twilight conditions when everything appears diffused, the yellow filter has the ability to brighten scenes and enhance contrast between varying shades. And indirect reflection in bright white snowy conditions can be overcome by polarisation - when a special layer of crystalline graphite is sandwiched between two layers of lens material.

In the construction of the lens a thermo air pillow equalises temperature difference from the outside to the inside of the lens. The laminated and welded lens construction provides distortion-free vision and an anti-fog coating absorbs condensation.

Since its release in 1987, the new lens has become the standard on the international ski racing circuit with 70% of all medals for alpine ski events at the 1992 Albertville Olympics in France won by Carrera Ultrasight users.

Adalbert Leibetseder is widely recognised as a leading authority in the field of sports eyewear and has contributed much to the sport internationally. In 1992, he presented a paper entitled "To see Well Is To Ski Better" at the 10th world congress on ski trauma and skiing safety held by the International Society for Skiing and Safety, in Zell am See in Austria.

New models are constantly being added to the Ultrasight collection. The revolutionary ski goggle lens is available in all Carrera racing category goggles, the snowboard goggle Ultrathermo, the new ladies' goggle Cosmo, and a range of goggles which fit over prescription glasses.

 Most important new development in ski geometry

To create a ski that goes fast in a straight line is not difficult. Making them go fast around corners is harder. In any race, cornering or turning is the key to good or bad race results, and snow skiing is no exception.

Champion skier and instructor Adalbert Leibetseder is the man behind the Powerbase C-I, a significant world first innovation in snow skis that is making the difference between winning and coming second. The secret lies in the extraordinary ability of the new skis to perform on turns and around corners.

Hailed as the most important new development in ski mechanics and geometry in recent years, the new ski has significantly increased edge grip.

The revolutionary new design has a small groove along the underside of the ski edge directly beneath the foot, the area of the ski where about 80% of the forces are concentrated in a turn. It also has a split base, a lowered tip, a narrow width, and has a Carbon-Kevlar construction that gives it torsional strength so it does not twist, and holds a true edge in and out of the turn.

The result of 15 years research and development, the Powerbase C-I was released by Rosbert International Pty Ltd in 1991. Small numbers of the exclusive skis are being made to exceptionally high standards in the race department of a major European ski manufacturer. Each of the skis are carefully numbered, and each owner registered.

The exclusive skis are much sought after by racers and serious skiiers around the world.

 Washed, natural all-weather turf for all sports

Bill Casimaty, Tasmanian farmer and Managing Director of Strathayr Pty Ltd is the man behind the development of a patented washed turf system, which involves washing turf immediately after harvesting to remove all soil which hinders effective drainage. It took many years of dedicated research and development to perfect what is now regarded to be the world's best lawn.

In 1991, Strathayr's soil-free turf was further enhanced by the use of nylon mesh elements developed by Netlon Limited in the United Kingdom. Mixing the small rectangles of mesh into the sand sub-surface gives the turf substantial additional strength without spoiling the drainage qualities of the sand. The washed turf is then laid over the top. The combined product is an outstanding sports field package marketed as the Strathayr NAT system.

The system has been installed in many famous sports grounds internationally. In 1992, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was reconstructed incorporating the NAT system. The strength of the new surface has enabled the ground to be used more often for sports and for special events such as pop concerts.

The NAT system has been successfully used for many varied sporting uses, including horse race tracks, bowling greens, golf courses and tennis courts. However, its potential does not end with sport. Its proven weight-bearing capability opens up a multitude of civil engineering possibilities, including car parks, fire access roads around high-rise buildings, and driveways.

The Strathayr NAT system is available through licencees in Europe, Japan and throughout the USA.

 Electronic line calls for tennis tournaments

Tennis is getting faster and harder to umpire. Improvements in court surfaces and racquet technology have increased the speed of the game and enabled players to hit the balls consistently close to the line at high speed. Despite the fact that tennis has one of the highest ratios of umpires to players of any sport in the world, with up to 11 umpires required to umpire a match with only two players on the court, the limitations of the human eye make it virtually impossible for a line call umpire to accurately call balls landing close to the line.

Line call disputes on centre court could be a thing of the past with the introduction of new high-tech electronic enhancement that can verify a line call accurately and consistently.

Already, hand-held computers have largely replaced score cards at many professional tournaments. There is also the Cyclops Laser system which is used to call the service line at many professional events around the world. Now, a new sophisticated system developed by Dr John Baxter, Dr Bruce Candy and Brian Williams called Tennis Electronic Lines (TEL), calls close call balls on all of the lines in the court.

Manufactured by TEL Pty Ltd, the system consists of four components; antennae buried below the court surface; an electronic console; a small hand-held computer to provide a communication link between the umpire and the system; and specially developed tennis balls which contain a small amount of ferrous powder and can be sensed by the antennae under the court.

When a ball is close to a line, the system detects the velocity, approach angle and the position of the ball. This information is digitised and processed by 13 computers to provide "in" or "out" decisions which are called instantaneously by either a digitised voice or a beeper. The accuracy of the system is five times better than the best line umpires.

The system was first demonstrated in the 1991 US Mens Hardcourt and the 1991 US Open Championships. Subsequently, TEL was used to shadow-call the major events at the 1992 US Open and to officiate, without line umpires, at the Masters Events of the 1992 US Open.

The system does not affect the court surface or the performance characteristics of the tennis balls and can be installed in hard courts, cushion surfaces, clay and synthetic grass courts. The company is already working on designs for natural grass and indoor courts are being developed.

 Safer motorcycle racing circuits

As luck would have it, most motorcycle grand prix riders in some stage of their career are going to come off their bikes. And when they do, what is stopping them are tires, hay bales or foam cushions.

While the rewards for being world champion are substantial, the price for a mistake can be a serious injury. For a sport where many millions are spent on the technology of the bikes, there has been very little spent on the most important safety precaution - the crash barrier.

Safety has however been in the headlines and has at last been addressed by a world first technology which is replacing the brick walls and hay bales. The new soft solution is the Air Fence, a barrier designed to take the full impact of a collision.

Invented in 1991 by Denis Horley and developed by Air Fence Safety Systems, the Air Fence appears from the outside to look like a simple inflatable cushion, but it's construction is far more complex. The design consists of a front impact cushion, ambient air chambers, rear impact cushion and interconnecting air baffles.

When the rider hits the front impact cushion, it gives way and deforms the air frame structure. Air held in the chambers becomes compressed air and is exhausted out via the exhaust holes, at a controlled rate. The rear impact cushion prevents any hard collision with the barrier behind. After the rider has collided with it, the fence automatically self erects ready for operation within 5 seconds.

Made in 10 metre long sections which are interlocked and tensioned together to form any desired length, the fence provides an ideal advertising surface attractive to the varying needs of promoters and sponsors.

The Air Fence is prividing increased safety for motorcycle riders and fewer headaches for race track organisers. Future developments will see the manufacture of airfence systems for motocross and snow skiing.

 The ultimate in custom mouthguards

In sport, danger means excitement, a surge of adrenalin and the intoxicating high that follows. During this process however, the body is often at risk, with many millions of people worldwide suffering injury each year, enjoying their chosen sport. Not surprisingly protective clothing and sports wear have become an all important facet in sport to reduce permanent damage to the body, particularly above the shoulders where over 46% of sporting injuries are estimated to occur.

The ultimate in today's mouth protection is the patented range of individually created mouthguards from Signature Mouthguards Pty Ltd. While mouthguards are nothing new to sport, the art and craft of creating the right guard for the right sport to perfectly fit and protect individual sportsmen and women, has been perfected by Sydney dental technician Peter Burns.

Made from a specially extruded plastic and fashioned from a direct impression taken from the sportsman's mouth, each is designed to meet the specific protective needs of the sport in which it is to be used. Different sports have different styles, and for fun, the custom mouthguards can also be ordered in a variety of colours. Because each has to be custom made, they are only available through licensed Signature dental laboratories, and are most often prescribed by dentists. An added feature of each mouthguard is that each carries the name of the owner sealed inside.

Because confidence plays a key role in performance, the full mouth protection now being offered by Signature means children and adults can now expect better performance in their sport.

 Polyurethane seasoning kit for wood turners

For many, working with wood is more than a trade or an occupation. Woodworking is a relaxing hobby as well as an art form. For the craftsman, the choice of timbers are many. But as any seasoned wood turner knows, while green timber is easier to turn than seasoned timber, it does have its down-sides. Objects made from most green timbers distort as they dry, whilst some timbers may also develop cracks, resulting in disappointment for the craftsman or artist.

Many methods of stabilising articles turned from green timber have been tried, with varying degrees of success. The most common being treating the timber in a microwave oven or impregnating it with polyethylene glycol (PEG). Microwave ovens were limited by job size and proved inconsistent with varying timbers, while PEG can be messy and time consuming to use.

A consistently reliable seasoning product for green timber was released in 1988. Developed by chemist Anthony Hope and manufactured by Toby Coatings Pty Ltd, Adeze Polyurethane WT Seasoning Grade is a unique product for the rapid "cold seasoning" and stabilisation of thin walled articles turned or carved from green timber. The two pack polyurethane treatment substantially increases the success rate with articles turned from timbers with high moisture content, without the usual splittingt or distortion as the timber dries.

When the timber is impregnated with Adeze, several processes then take place - including the lowering of the timbers water content. Depending on the type and size of the timber and prevailing humidity, it takes anything from 24 hours to 10 days for the timber to stabilise.

Far from leaving any residue or discolouration, Adeze actually enhances the natural colours of the timber and at the same time strengthens fragile woodwork.

 Computerised theatre stage movement control

In the big business of theatre, the difference between a great performance and a good one, can be the difference between financial success or failure. Often, it is more to do with the quality of the overall production, and the way it is implemented, than just the quality of the acting. Creativity on the static stage, is only limited by the creator's imagination and the limitations of physically moving scenery on and around the stage, repeatedly and precisely on cue, without the risk of something going drastically wrong.

After seven years of product development, Bytecraft Pty Ltd created State, the world's most advanced computerised stage movement control system for scenery movement in theatre and television in 1990. Unlike other flying systems, Bytecraft's system does not have conventional limitations.

Complex movement sequences can be easily programmed by the operator and accurately repeated precisely on cue, night after night. The system can be pre-programmed to fully control a complete performance involving hundreds of motors. Its inherent safety, with seven built-in fail-safe devices, and its ability to control electric or hydraulic motors, means that it can be applied either to existing or to new stage and studio installations.

State is now being used by theatres internationally including the Opera de Lyon, Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Victorian Arts Centre. State is also used to control many great productions such as Phantom of the Opera - in which the spectacular crash of the half tonne chandalier is made possible by the company's innovative equipment.

 Revolutionary new shaping blade for wood carving

An innovative new cutting tool that can be used to shape all hard and softwoods without chipping or burning may soon be replacing the chisel, gouge, router, chain saw and spokeshave - tools used in occupational and leisure woodworking.

Invented by a man of many talents, former engineering surveyor, policeman, environmentalist, restrateur, furniture maker Kevin Inkster, the Woodcarver Pro-2 is a versatile disc, which can be attached to a standard angle grinder. It can be used by woodcarvers to contour hand-made furniture and by carpenters, electricians and plumbers for a variety of jobs. The product was commercialised by Arbortech Pty Ltd.

Woodworkers have been faced with the difficulty of shaping timber on the horizontal plane, for example for making shallow indentations. The problem has been overcome by the Woodcarver which can cut and shape timber simultaneously on the horizontal and vertical planes, or be used on one plane at a time. The innovative product was an instant success with tradesmen and the home handyman market. It was awarded the BHP Australian Steel Award in 1989 and named Australian Hardware Journal's product of that year as well.

Arbortech have developed a bullet-proof polycarbonate transparent guard for use with the Woodcarver, which also acts as a depth gauge and cutting guide.

 Ace tennis trainer sam serves 1,000 perfect shots

Tennis is one of the world's most popular sports, played regularly by an estimated 45 million people around the world. It is a game everyone can play, but to be good at it, you have to play with the best.

Technology helps, but until recently, the only technical training device used in tennis was the ball machine, capable of producing a very limited range of shots. Now, the ball machine has been aced by the Sports Action Machine (SAM), the ultimate tennis partner and computerised coaching aid.

SAM is a sophisticated ball propulsion machine aimed at all levels of players, for training and coaching purposes. Invented by Daniel Elbaum with assistance from former Wibmledon champion Neale Fraser and commercialised by Sportech International Pty Ltd in 1994, the mains powered seven-axis tennis robot can deliver all known tennis shots to the beginner through to the professional international player.

In a coaching situation the robot can be programmed to send a predetermined drill sequence of shots to the player. From a control panel, the coach can select from a wide range of training drills made up from a database of over 1,000 different shots, choose skill levels, ball speeds and the time lag between shots. The hand held remote allows the selection to be controlled manually during a session, to repeat troublesome shots and alter drills.

The robot stands 2.87m tall, weighs about 100kg and serves from a maximum height of 2.75m. Servo motors send balls in controlled directions from a variety of heights, with speeds of up to 160km/h, with any type of spin. SAM has a capacity of 200 balls, providing a non-stop playing time of 10 to 20 minutes and can play right or left-handed.

In the future, SAM's ball propulsion technology, may be adapted to improve playing techniques and coaching methods for other sports.

 Fundamentally new golf clubs for the 21st century

Golf is one of the most popular participation sports in Australia. With one course for every 12,000 people, Australia has more golf courses per head of population than anywhere else in the world. So when former Australian Test cricket skipper Greg Chappell and his partners introduced a fundamentally new concept in golf clubs, which performed considerably better than conventional ones, the sizeable local golfing fraternity 'Down Under' could hardly wait to try them out.

Conceived by inventor Gerry Hogan, the Fundamental 21AD clubs are at the forefront of world golf technology, and look set to turn the world of golf upside down. According to Golf Australia magazine, "His clubs do not so much challenge conventional clubs as threaten to render them obsolete". One of the great swingers of the game, 1957 US Open champion Tommy Bolt, who had given up the game for more than ten years, says the clubs have given him back lost distance. Another golfing great, Norman von Nida, said the new clubs were "the greatest advance in golf club technology in my lifetime". 1990 US PGA champion Wayne Grady, and all time great Jack Nicklaus are other 'names' that have apparently been suitably impressed by the new clubs.

Commercialised by Fundamental Golf and Leisure Ltd, the revolutionary new concept takes into consideration the basic principle that a golf club will function better as an integral part and extension of the player, rather than as an independent tool that requires expert manipulation.

The secret of greater distance and straighter hitting is the optimum placement of the weight. Most of the weight in the heavier graphite shaft is in the grip end, and the club head is lighter than normal. The clubs have a strict head-weight to shaft-weight relationship. Because of the improved balance, the club is easier to swing and enables optimum control of the dynamic torque of the shaft, so the shaft returns the club head squarer to the ball more consistently. Custom made up to 5cms longer than standard, the clubs put the player in an optimum position of balance before and during the swing.

Just as bigger heads and high-tech fibre tennis racquets revolutionised tennis equipment, the 21AD technology is expected to do the same for golf. Perhaps most importantly, they will make the game a little easier and even more enjoyable, for many thousands of golfers.

Public Notice: Due to an unresolved dispute with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), who copied and adopted as their own certain material from Tomorrow's World, the Australian Initiative, and published the material in their Australia Open for Business website, without remorse or recompense, access by Australian Government servers to this online edition has been blocked indefinitely.

Print Edition: ISBN 0646252119 - Paperback - 224 pages - 350 illustrations - $55.00 incl. GST.

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