Innovative inventions

Four researchers have won the Gatsby Innovation Awards for their innovative products, which include a heated football goalkeeping glove, a golf putter grip, mountain bike front forks and a portable hydration monitor. Each researcher will now have access to Loughborough University research facilities and guidance from business development experts to test their creations.

Former professional footballer Darren Heyes has designed the Katz (Keepers Agility Technology Zone) heated goalkeeping glove. The technology is said to aid blood flow, which warms the hands and enhances performance. The Gatsby award will enable the prototype to undergo detailed testing in Loughborough’s thermal environment laboratories.

PGA coach Philip Howard Gazeley has designed the Two Thumb Putter Grip to help golfers achieve better putting accuracy by encouraging a more natural stance where shoulders are kept parallel. The grip will benefit from independent validation by Loughborough experts to strengthen its marketing claims.

Dave Cleaver has developed mountain bike front forks with an innovative modular design using carbon composites and aluminium. This offers enhanced strength and performance over products of welded construction. Cleaver’s front fork concept will undergo stress testing and prototyping at Loughborough.

Leon Marsh is developing a portable hydration monitor, initially aimed at elite athletes, whose performance can seriously be affected due to dehydration. No such device is currently available. The most accurate way to assess hydration involves invasive tests in a controlled laboratory setting. Marsh is refining a second stage prototype for in-depth physiological testing.

The Gatsby Innovation Awards are funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Loughborough University Sports Technology Institute, as part of a £15m initiative with emda. This aims to enhance research, innovation and enterprise in the sport and leisure sector and develop cutting edge technology to support future British champions.