Patent Found: Adidas to Release Knuckle Shot Ball?

Are Adidas working on a football designed to produce an even more unpredictable flightpath? While investigating Adidas patents to see if we could find out more about the 2022 World Cup ball (spoiler: we could), something entirely different caught our attention.



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Just days ago, another Adidas patent went public, specifying a ball designed in way to artificially produce the so-called Dzhanibekov effect, named after Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov, who observed it while in space in 1985. It's also known as "Tennis racket theorem".

The Adidas patent only talks of a ball and does not specify any type of sports. Football, however, is named as the first example in a list of sports that also includes tennis, handball, volleyball, baseball and a few more. The patent was submitted back in June last year but only went public a few days ago.

Such a ball would be fitted with weights to generate the "Dzhanibekov effect". The weights could be added to four points just below the surface of the ball, aligned to follow the desired axes of rotation, which are aligned perpendicularly.


Subsequently, the ball would initially rotate around the first of two axes and later around the second, before the process would repeat itself.

"If one compares the ball according to the invention with the earth and assumes that the earth is a sphere with a constant diameter, then the north pole would first rotate around the axis of rotation of the earth. Then, due to the Dzhanibekov effect, the Earth would rotate in such a way that the North Pole would be shifted to the previous position of the equator and rotate around the equator. After that, due to the Dzhanibekov effect, the North Pole would continue to move from the equator to the South Pole and rotate there." - Adidas



Talking about football, Adidas state that such a ball could produce a totally new flightpath with extremely unpredictable movement due to the way the axis of rotation would change during flight. This would potentially make it much easier to create so-called knuckle shots.


If Adidas are to bring such a football on the market, it would almost certainly be a novelty product rather than one to be used in official matches. As we know, previous attempt to make things more interesting with less reliable balls, such as 2006 and 2010, were heavily criticized at the time.

This will be definitely be an interesting one to follow over the coming weeks and months. Both Henry Hanson and Christopher Holmes work at Adidas' Future division and concrete developments for a specific sport, including football, appear to have yet to take place.

What's your verdict upon reading about Adidas' plans to bring to develop such a football? Comment below.
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