Gaming on Glass - The Sports Floor of the Future
Let's all think back to our high school gymnasium. Despite the fact that there were many sports played on that wooden floor during gym classes and after school practices, the permanent painted-on lines were probably for a basketball court. For other less glamorous sports, imaginary boundaries had to be remembered or arbitrarily marked with cones, strips of tape, or piles of books. In terms of ahtletic courts, not much has changed since those days, but imagine if the lines of a basketball court could instantly be replaced by three perfectly measured badminton courts with one flick of a switch. That is precisely the goal of ASB GlassFloors, the step forward in technology that coaches, athletes, and even fans have been dreaming of for years.
The concept, although the end result looks like the deleted gymnasium scene from Tron, is actually quite simple. The floor is made of glass, aluminum, and ceramic, and a network of LED lighting is pre-laid beneath the floor when it is installed. This means that the neutral appearance of the floor is completely blank, but can be instantly changed to resemble any number of different floor designs or athletic court boundaries. When volleyball practice ends, the basketball court suddenly appears for Friday night's big game. The flooring is also completely in line with international ahtletic standards, so it is an ideal option for new, elite sporting venues which feature basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton, handball and many other sports.
The texture of the floor is altered with tiny burnt-in dots which create a similar level of friction to most parquet floors (block pattern wood floors), which means the floor won't be slippery like most glass, while it's elasticity (bounciness) is slightly greater than wood, which means it won't hurt as much when a player makes a highlight reel dive. The underside of the floor is covered with a colored foil, which will never be touched, and in turn will never fade or show normal wear and tear. The floor has been tested under heavy, constant usage (similar to a high school gymnasium), and even though glass is often thought of as fragile, ASB GlassFloors have a very long life expectancy. Finally, the surface has a special treatment to eliminate reflections or "hot spots" which might distract athletes, and it also creates a subtle and undistracting surface on which fans and viewers can watch the action.
Taking Floors to the Next Level
The applications of this advancement are not only limited to sporting venues. Besides providing convenient fluctuation between various sports court boundaries, this technology is expected to revolutionize different aspects of floors across a wide range of industries. In theory, the entire surface of a floor could be wired with LED lighting, so large advertisements could be emblazoned on the floor while not in use, while smaller sections could be used to show the score, stats, or even national flags for international events.
For commercial use, this type of flooring could be used to advertise corporate logos in office buildings, or a system of directions could be programmed to clearly lead people to emergency exits when needed. The possibilities are endless, and this technology, although it might be beyond the reach of some high schools on limited budgets, is definitely a reality for those who want to work and play in the future.
So is this in the cards for future sports arenas? Will the classic hardwood of Madison Square Garden be replaced with this sleek, silvery surface? Will "the paint" ever be nothing more than the space inside a glowing blue rectangle? That may be thinking a bit far ahead, but for some of those open-minded sports moguls always looking for the next big thing right under their nose, they might only need to look under their feet. Frankly, I bet Mark Cuban would dig this.
Source: ASB GlassFloor
Follow the Bouncing Ball to more Outside the Box Innovations!