By Chris Worrall
TWI has helped WallJAM bring its sports rebound wall product closer to market by providing advice and know-how in materials, design and fabrication.
A generation ago, it was commonplace for children to play outside. Among other activities, this play often included playing with a ball against a vertical surface such as the wall of a house or garage, or a garden wall. Sadly, such outdoor recreation is on the decline, due in part to a reduction in land availability and in part to a cultural shift towards more sedentary, indoor forms of entertainment such as computer games and online media. One result of this is that the present generation of young children has much less exposure to the skill development routines of, for example, hitting or kicking a ball against a wall.
WallJAM is an interactive rebound wall that is designed to deliver data based on the power and accuracy of a ball strike against an array of sensor-based targets. It offers users a new way of training and offers the perfect platform for improving performance and technique. The wall connects with an app on the user’s phone which allows players to book and play games, upload and compare results and review historic performance data. WallJAM has already attracted a great deal of attention. After successfully testing its pilot at the Harefield Academy in Uxbridge, the company has been shortlisted in the Daily Telegraph Sports Technology Awards in the Most Promising Concept category.
Bringing TWI on board
WallJAM contacted TWI for help developing their sports rebound wall product, by investigating and solving material and manufacturing problems.
Expert materials performance consultancy
TWI looked at the materials used in the WallJAM product and carried out a review of their performance, particularly focusing on the materials used to cover the sensor and transmit the force of the ball’s impact. These materials must protect the sensor from damage whilst maintaining the performance of the product, consistently allowing the sensor to correctly detect the position and power of each shot. TWI evaluated the performance of these materials under a range of conditions, finding several solutions that led to an improved design. The project also generated several improvements to the design of the sensor. The product has since made regular appearances on BT Sport, where current and former football stars have tested their skills.