There's No Air In Your Balls

Attention all sports fans! Wilson, the leading manufacturer of sporting equipment, has just introduced a groundbreaking new 3D-printed basketball prototype that might change the way we play the game forever. This basketball is unlike any you've ever seen before - it's "airless" and relies on natural elasticity in the resin it's made from rather than pressurized air.

The key to this new prototype is the detailed pattern of holes along its surface, allowing air to pass through freely. This technology is not entirely new, with tire manufacturer Bridgestone working on an airless tire for more than a decade with mixed success. However, Wilson's airless basketball is a game-changer.

Wilson's R&D Manager for Basketball, Dr. Nadine Lippa, was given a daunting task when she joined the company: reinvent the basketball. However, she rose to the challenge and worked with General Lattice to produce the 3D structure of the ball, which is a series of hexagonal holes instead of the traditional leather panels held together at a seam.

Wilson then took the digital file containing the design to materials firm EOS for actual manufacturing, which produced the prototype with an additive 3D-printing process using a bed of powder and multiple passes with a laser. This was the only technology on earth that could bring this concept to life.

The prototype was then cured and dyed to give it its distinctive black look before being sent to a Wilson NBA testing facility in Idaho. Basketball players assessed how well the prototype actually worked as a basketball, and Wilson is very encouraged by the results.

Bob Thurman, Wilson's Vice President of Innovation, is excited about the first step they have taken, and says that this is only a dot on the development path. It's too soon to tell if this lone prototype, called The One, will ever make it to production. However, a basketball that never needs inflating and can give consistent performance is certainly going to have a lot of sports fans' interest.

So, are you excited to try out this airless basketball prototype for yourself? Stay tuned for more updates on its progress, and who knows? Maybe we'll all be playing with airless basketballs sooner than we think!