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August 25, 2005
Nanotechnology at the U.S. Open
It's almost time for the start of the U.S. Open in Queens, so it's time to start thinking about tennis... In today's print edition (link from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) , The Wall Street Journal looks at the latest advances in materials and design in the U.S. tennis racket market:
"Head, Prince, Babolat, Wilson and Fischer are among those featuring nanotechnology, magnetic forces, aerodynamics and advanced physics principles in their new rackets, which claim to help players add power and precision to their strokes."
Apparently, most of the high-tech advances are driven as much by marketing needs as by the real need to produce more power or control in the racket. The number of tennis players has not changed much in the past five years, and sales of tennis gear are down from levels ten years ago. So what do you do when the size of the market is not increasing? Gotta promote things like "piezoelectric crystals" and "carbon nanotubes" to make people buy more rackets.
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