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Engineering Gold: Sports Engineering Design. The IET European Regional Network Prestige Lecture

Dr David James

Presentation from Sun Microsystems GEC, Grenoble, France Speaker: Dr David James, Sports Engineering Group, based at Sheffield Hallam University, UK

08 April 2008  Control & Automation channel

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About the presentation
Individual sports have developed over the last thousands of years with only current manufacturing capabilities, the laws of physics and imagination as the limiting factors. The development of professional sport as a spectator sport has necessitated laws to be developed for each sport to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules. However, in our technological world, there are plenty of opportunities to use science and engineering to enhance performance either of athletes, products, or more generally of the two together. This lecture will explore the cutting edge research that examines the fundamental mechanics of the athlete's interaction with their equipment; it will also examine the ethics of using technology to enhance performance and ask, ‘when it is cheating’? Forty years after the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, the lecture will focus on some of the latest technological developments in winter sports. One event where technology is literally sliding a sport forward is the high speed Olympic discipline of Skeleton Bob Sled. At the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics the medals winners were separated on average by three tenths of a second after two runs. How do athletes find their extra speed? The lecture will describe some of the sophisticated engineering techniques (originated in the affluent sports of Formula 1 Motor Racing, and America’s Cup sailing) that are now being used in Skeleton and other winter sports to gain speed and shave time.
About the speaker
Dr David James is a lecturer in Sports Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. A very keen sportsman and a senior scientist in a world leading research centre, he has worked extensively with the media and groups of young people. Recent projects have included the development of British Cycling’s highly successful Olympic track bike, and the aerodynamic optimisation of skeleton bobsled athlete Kristan Bromley. David has a reputation for delivering lively, informative and engaging lectures and has appeared on countless stages including the Cheltenham Science Festival; the BA Festival of Science and the Royal Institute’s Faraday lecture theatre.
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