“It all started with the opening ceremony of the London Olympics 2012,” explains Frederic Opsomer from PRG XL Video. During the Games, the company turned the entire Olympic arena into one big video screen by distributing an LED-lit tablet to everyone in the audience. “Shortly after, we were challenged to turn the volleyball court into a screen.”
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Novel sports experience by PRG (US) and Sioen (Flanders)
The volleyball net with built-in LEDs is the first outcome of this R&D challenge. XL Video is looking into ways to apply this new technology to tennis, hockey and boxing. “Combining textiles with electronics isn’t easy,” Opsomer admits. “At first, we tried to achieve this on our own, but it wasn’t until we joined forces with experts from Flanders-based textile company Sioen that we succeeded.” All in all, it took both companies two years to develop the technology.
PRG XL Video is considering employing five to ten extra people to assemble the nets in the coming months. In addition, the company is already thinking on the long-term: together with Flanders’ nano- and digital technology research center imec, PRG XL Video is planning to build stretchable electronics into the nets.