Composite ice hockey sticks frequently break. Broken sticks can not only change the outcome of a game at the professional level it, it can also lead to mounting hockey-stick costs for players and clubs.
Enter Hockey Robotics, maker of the SlapShot XT, a robot capable of executing a slap shot like a professional hockey player at Ispeeds up to 110 mites per hour with either a right- or a left-hand stick. Hockey sticks often break when they're subject to large three-point bending toads during a slap shot, said John McPhee, chief scientist at Hockey Robotics of Waterloo, Canada.
The robot's integrated electronics and software allows hockey stick makers to test their designs in a repeatable and controlled manner, McPhee said.
But before they could create the robot, engineers needed to study the motion of the hockey stick during a slap shot.
Engineers used high-speed cameras to track the trajectory of the stick at important Locations during shots made by expert hockey prayers. By analyzing this data, they could design the SlapShot XT robot to recreate the Loading to which a stick is subjected during a slap shot.
A four-bar mechanism was synthesized to match the hockey player's motion, and subsequent dynamic and stress analyses were used to develop and confirm the performance of the resulting robot design. A flywheel maintained the stick's momentum during contact with the ice, and the robotic hands allowed the stick to bend about two axes, storing and releasing strain energy throughout the shot.
They called upon the physical modeling and simulation tool MapleSim when simulating the robot. The software, from Maplesoft of Waterloo, Canada, allowed Hockey Robotics engineers to simulate the robot's coupled dynamic electrical and mechanical systems. It also enabled them to concurrently took at the robot's flexible body deformation and rigid body motion, which is a very difficult, time-consuming, and error-prone task when done by hand, McPhee said.
This section was written by Associate Editor Jean Thilmany.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2012|
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