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Streamlined Balls

faster than a speeding bullock
  (+6, -3)
(+6, -3)
  [vote for,

A hit, kicked or thrown ball would gain more height and distance if it was teardrop-shaped. A flexible, internal structure could stretch the ball shortly after launch, rounding the front and pointing the rear with excess tail material forming simple fins.

The ball shape would return before landing. A very quickly transforming system might even be used for a faster rolling bowling ball.

FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

Bad Rain http://www.ems.psu....er/Bad/BadRain.html
[FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005]

Streamlined ball http://math.ucr.edu...s/General/golf.html
[DrCurry, Jan 13 2005]

Even more streamlined ball http://photo1.duken...Images/football.jpg
Don't they have football in Sweden? No, wait... [DrCurry, Jan 13 2005]

How water drops actually look before they drip http://www.africanp...photo.php?photo=466
Further to FJ's Bad Rain link [DrCurry, Jan 13 2005]

Liqui-Ball Liquid_20Filled_20Bowling_20Ball
Rain and teardrops remided me of this idea [DesertFox, Jan 14 2005]

Deformable Sphere Robot Deformable_20Sphere_20Robot
A related idea, though it only specifies a sphere that's deformable in such a way that all of its cross-sections are elipses(?). [joee, Feb 07 2005]


       Dare I ask how this might be done?
DaveW-H, Jan 13 2005

       Ah, the devil's in the details.
FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

       There would be a point in the trajectory of the ball's flight when it would no longer be classified as a ball...perhaps a gaussian sphere??
DaveW-H, Jan 13 2005

       FJ - the Bad Rain link does not negate your idea, does it?
Water droplets do not naturally organize themselves into the shape that allows them to fall at the maximum speed... but your invention would try to do just that!
millionthMonkeyTyping, Jan 13 2005

       [Dave] I looked it up but am none the wiser.   

       [Monkey] No, yes, I was just trying to head off those who have issues with "teardrop-shaped raindrops".
FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

       Interesting negative of "Ball Rain"
calum, Jan 13 2005

       So NOT a solution to the debutante crisis that we're hit with every summer.
theircompetitor, Jan 13 2005

       i was just happy to find that olympic swimmers weren't metioned anywhere in this offering
JungFrankenstein, Jan 13 2005

       Perhaps get rid of the squishyness part of the idea and just find the optimally aerodynamic shape for a given weight and size. Of course, at some point you end up with a javellin, which is less than ideal if someone has to catch it.
Worldgineer, Jan 13 2005

       The structure-stretching could be triggered by some sensor. An altimeter, an accelerometer, or a wind-speed-measuring thingie.
robinism, Jan 13 2005

       For some reason, I thought of my liquid-filled bowling ball. Maybe because this has to do with liquid, too (teardrops).
DesertFox, Jan 14 2005

       Shaving is good enough for me.
normzone, Jan 14 2005

       Attach a string to the stretchy covering of the ball and attach the other end to a whiz-bang super string dispensing reel thingy. The drag of the string pulls the stretchy covering into a teardrop fairing shape (a turtledeck, using light aircraft terms). Just as the ball is about to strike a target, the string is severed and the stretchy covering snaps back into its original shape. The string is severed by a marksman with a high-powered rifle. Marksmen are provided by the ball manufacturer for an hourly fee. Ammunition costs extra.
bristolz, Feb 07 2005

       How would the ball know when it is about to land or be caught? You could have accelerometers which could detect the apogee of its flight, which could do the trick. It would probably be safe to say for most instances that the apogee occurs at the halfway point between release and being caught.   

       So this accelerometer could be mounted inside the ball, suspended in the middle by strings attached to points all over the ball's interior. A specially-designed processor could take the input from the accelerometer and then use tiny motors to wind up or unwind the appropriate strings to deform the sphere...
utexaspunk, Jul 08 2005

       [utexaspunk], after a ball is released from the throwing arm (or kicking foot etc) it is under constant acceleration (discounting wind resistance) since there are no dynamic forces acting upon it.   

       I think a proximity detector would work better.
xaviergisz, Jul 08 2005

       //after a ball is released from the throwing arm (or kicking foot etc) it is under constant acceleration // *No* acceleration, shirley? Or are you considering zero as the constant here? No force, no acceleration. Constant velocity.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 08 2005

       It is under constant accelaration - 9.8m/s^2 downwards.
hippo, Jul 08 2005

       ok... altimeters then?
utexaspunk, Jul 08 2005


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