Specific characteristics of sports equipment

Maximilian Müller, Veit Senner, Udo Lindemann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


It is hypothesized that the quality of sport equipment regarding the three most important consumer (athlete) relevant aspects can be enhanced by taking into account and handle specific characteristics of sports equipment during the design process. The target of the present study is to first find measurable criteria (characteristics) that have an impact on the design process. This step does not include measurable criteria to assess the benefit of possible interventions during the design process. A Wideband Delphi Analysis was performed in order to approach consensus on the nature of specific characteristics of sports equipment. First, a prepared list of statements about characteristics was merged to a questionnaire and eventually presented to eight experts from the fields sports science, engineering, human science, and industrial design. The results were discussed in a workshop, completing the list of statements and working out further differentiations for some of the statements. Two core issues for the design of sports equipment are the safety aspect and fun as a driving motive using sports equipment. Safety in relation to sports is ambivalent, because safety in terms of functionality and reliability is generally demanded for sports equipment but accidents and harm are taken into account in certain situations by the user. Also fun is a multidimensional aspect in relation to sports: equipment, environment, kind of motion, socializing effects etc. Fun was, however, regarded as a singular facet in this study so far. Further investigation has to be performed together with sports psychologists to work out the different levels and impacts of fun. The experts agreed very well on some of the characteristics like the domination of the look, the general absence of legal restrictions for the design and the use of sports equipment in most sports or the statement that simple motion patterns are preferred for leisure sports. Other issues were discussed very controversial, like the influence of competitive sports on the consumer market, the equipment's dynamic response to the athlete or the enhancement of personal performance through special equipment. These characteristics have to be differentiated and quantified, were possible, to make them directly applicable as a supportive information pool for design projects in the task clarification and the conceptual phases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICED 2007, the 16th International Conference on Engineering Design
StatePublished - 2007
Event16th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2007 - Paris, France
Duration: 28 Jul 200731 Jul 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of ICED 2007, the 16th International Conference on Engineering Design
VolumeDS 42


Conference16th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2007


  • Design for X
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Sports equipment


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