DELFT - TU Delft Sports - CoolCap. - FOTO GUUS SCHOONEWILLE

To help Dutch athletes perform well at the Olympic Games, various sports innovations have been developed at the Technical University (TU) of Delft in the Netherlands. In Tokyo, for example, athletes will be cycling on the fastest possible track bike, the entire Dutch team will be wearing a cool cap to cool down, a supercomputer will be sending sailors detailed wind forecasts and the Paralympic wheelchair basketball women will be receiving essential data on their training performance.

More innovations for Tokyo are described in the book Innoveren met impact, published by TU Delft together with Sportinnovator, the TU Delft announced in a press release. The Papendal Sports Center, another party in the Sportinnovator network besides TU Delft, has, for example, developed a special hamburger.

Sports curd

The mushrooms in the hamburger are exposed to a certain type of UV light to increase vitamin D levels. A low-fat sports curd with exactly 20 grams of protein has also been developed. Perfect for the golden rule of recovery: 20 grams of protein 20 minutes after a sports performance. All of the athletes’ food and drink will be precisely monitored in a specially developed nutrition app.

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Scientifically fastest track bike

“Using a unique design process, we have produced the scientifically fastest bike. This new bike is the quickest way to hunt for gold,” says Arend Schwab, a cycling professor at TU Delft. The result: the bike is 35 percent stiffer, 15 percent lighter and 24 percent more aerodynamic. This makes it more stable, more controllable and enables the cyclist to use all their power. “Together with all the experts in the Netherlands: the KNWU, manufacturer Koga, Actiflow, Pontis Engineering and TU Delft, we turned the design process on its head,” says Schwab to describe their formula for success. “The bike was not first built to put a rider on it later; instead, we looked at the rider first and then built a bike around that.”

Cool caps

The Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the hottest ever. TU Delft developed caps in which cooling elements can be inserted. The athletes will wear these before and after their performance to stay cool as much as possible. The cooling caps will be included in the TeamNL clothing package and will also be worn by coaches and accompanying staff. The cool caps form part of the Thermo Tokyo project.

Supercomputer

The Olympic sailors in Tokyo will also be assisted by a supercomputer and a model developed by TU Delft. For every ten minutes of the race, a prediction of the wind direction, wind speed and type of wind pattern will be made. These highly accurate predictions will help the sailors in their decisions on the water. In Tokyo, this is especially important because they will be sailing in an area with topographically challenging factors such as Oshima Island, the Mount Fuji volcano and large fluctuations in water temperature. The calculations will be carried out at the SURF national supercomputer center in Amsterdam, as they involve hundreds of processor hours and terabytes of data. The model was created in collaboration with the Sailing Innovation Center.

Paralympians helped with training during pandemic

During the corona crisis, it was difficult for the Dutch wheelchair basketball players to play many games. Rienk van der Slikke – a researcher in wheelchair sports at NOC*NSF and TU Delft – has developed a sensor that can record all wheelchair movements, such as speed and agility. By displaying this data in an app, the athletes and trainers themselves can measure their performance during training and compare it with data from competition situations. This allows the coach to create an appropriate training program for each individual athlete.

Also interesting: XOET scan lets trainers know how athletes learn (Dutch only)

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