In the sports industry, more and more equipment manufacturers are getting equipped with robots that simulate the movement of athletes to validate and test their products. When it comes to hockey, given the complexity of the movement to replicate, no existing robot can faithfully reproduce the impacts occurring when the stick contacts the ice and the puck during a slapshot.
Due to their industrial design (firmly fixed to the floor, high mass frame and high reflected inertia from the actuators), current robots break sticks after only 3 to 5 shots (instead of several hundred), and at the wrong place compared to real situations. They are also unable to recreate the loading phase of the stick on the ice before the impact with the puck.
The objective of the project is therefore to develop an adapted robot allowing for a realistic execution of slapshots with a hockey stick. As manufacturers are currently restricted to using subjective perceptual data to guide their design, the development of such a technology will revolutionize the way hockey equipment is designed and developed and will also accelerate the manufacturing process.