What were you thinking the first time you saw an air dome? Maybe it looked like a building from the future, or from another planet? It’s no doubt that there are fewer construction methods as futuristic-looking as air domes.
The enormous size, the rounded shape, and the counterintuitive amount of clear span space are enough to awe anyone. The fact that the ceiling is kept up by air alone is a marvel of engineering. While they do seem futuristic, air domes are a very real, and incredible, technology.
We’re nearly at 2020 though, and while domes are a building of the present, here are some really cool buildings of the future:
3D Printed Homes
This might be a long way off from being practical, but that doesn’t mean being able to 3D print buildings isn’t still cool!
3D printing as an idea has been around for decades, but it’s only recently that 3D printers have started to make their way into people’s homes. The scope of 3D printing in the home is limited to little things made out of plastic, but what if you could use the same principles but on a larger scale?
Well, it might not be as sci-fi as you think.
House printers use the same concept of a desktop 3D printer—a construction material is carefully extruded out one end into the shape of whatever the design is. The item takes shape one layer at a time. While typical consumer sized printers typically use plastic, a house printer squirts out quick drying concrete. This printer was even able to build a house in 24 hours.
Building in Space
Mars has been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason. After all, what could be more exciting than actually sending people from this planet all the way to another. The idea itself seems out of the realm of possibility, but space exploration bodies like NASA are getting closer and closer.
One of the most important challenges to overcome is, “where will the first Mars explorers live?” Without an answer to this, we’d be dooming anyone that we send there.Well, some of the smartest people in the world are working on this problem, and some of the construction solutions are impressive, to say the least.
One of the most interesting ideas to us involves a technology we know a lot about already: inflatable structures.
Think about it; you could create large indoor spaces using fewer materials that are lighter in weight. And if the air structure is designed and built carefully, the structures would be able to withstand the winds and storms that occur on the surface of Mars.
While the inflatable structures wouldn’t be exactly the same as those used on Earth, the principles are the same. The things we’ve learnt here on Earth would be directly applicable for creating these space structures!
Of course, these buildings are something for the future and it’s all up in the air whether they become a widespread thing. It is fun to daydream about what’s going to come next, though.
Tennis players spend a lot of time under the sun. And they usually have the tan to prove it! But that’s also why these athletes need to protect themselves from sunburns and the long term health risks caused by invisible, ultraviolet radiation.
When it comes to staying fit and healthy, taking steps to prevent sun damage is just as important as proper training and nutrition. Here are five easy ways to protect your skin from the sun without sacrificing performance.
Clothing is your first line of defence against UV rays. While all clothes provide at least some protection, certain materials do a better job than others.
People who spend long hours on the tennis court should look for clothes with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor. The UPF rating tells you how well the material shields your skin from UV rays. For example, a garment with a UPF of 50 will allow just 1/50th or 2% of UV radiation to pass through.
Of course, you won’t see tennis pros serving in long sleeves and pants. Players can’t be expected to cover themselves head to toe. This is where sunscreen shines.
Wearing sunscreen is the most effective way to protect exposed skin from the sun. Tennis players should apply a generous coat of water-resistant or sport-formulated sunscreen at least 15 minutes before hitting the courts, even on cloudy day. Your choice of SPF will depend on your skin’s sensitivity, but 30 SPF is the minimum for hot summer days.
In the heat of a match, your sunscreen is quickly worn off by friction and sweat. Be sure to re-apply it every two to three hours, especially during those long training sessions. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach spots like your ears, neck, shoulders, and the back of your legs.
Some athletes are reluctant to use sunscreen because they feel it hinders their performance. But the potential for short-term gain isn’t worth the risk of long-term skin damage. To keep your hands from getting slippery, simply have someone else apply the sunscreen for you.
Protect Yourself from Head to Toe
It’s not just your extremities that need sun protection – your face, eyes, ears, and scalp are also susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays. Remember to wear a hat and apply plenty of sunscreen to your face, including an SPF lip balm. If you have trouble with it stinging your eyes, try using a thicker sunscreen formula on your forehead.
Your eyes need protection as well. Summer sports lovers should invest in a pair of wraparound sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
Got a Burn? Take a Break
When you feel the burn, don’t wait for the pain to set in. Call a time-out at the first sign of sunburn. You can minimize the damage by immediately covering your skin, cooling the affected area, and drinking plenty of cold water to stay hydrated.
You can treat minor burns at home, but check in with a doctor if the burn blisters, or if you get chills or a fever shortly afterward.
Escape the Sun
Tired of covering yourself in UPF clothing and sunscreen? Cover the tennis court instead! The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to retreat to the shade of an air-supported, climate-controlled dome.
Farley domes are made from several thick layers of fabric, providing complete protection from harmful UV rays. Since tennis domes can operate year-round, players stay cool and comfortable even in the heat of the summer. You can leave the SPF behind and get back to training.
If you’ve done a bit of research, you’ve probably read somewhere on our site that dome fabric is tough, vinyl-coated polyester. Everyone’s heard of the materials vinyl and polyester, but do you really know what they are? Domes need to be tough and built to last, which is why every material involved needs to be up to the task.
What is Polyester?
We all know that polyester is a fabric. As a matter of fact, a good amount of the clothes in your wardrobe are probably made of the stuff. But ask most people what it is and where it comes from and that’s usually the extent of their knowledge.
The name “polyester” actually comes from shortening the scientific names of what it’s made of. It is a “polymer,” made mostly of “esters.” A polymer is what we call when molecules attach to each other like a chain. In the case of polyester, each link of that chain has something called an ester functional group. With a long enough chain, we can create fibres, and with enough fibres, you have a fabric.
Polyesters can occur naturally, sometimes in plants, but we can also synthesize it with chemical reactions. This is why you’ll hear the terms natural and synthetic polyester.
Polyester fabrics can be incredibly strong and highly-stain resistant, which is why they make a perfect component of air structure fabric. That’s not all there is to it, though.
What is Vinyl?
To further strengthen and protect dome fabric, the polyester is combined with a vinyl coating. Vinyl is another material that you likely contact every day.
In chemistry, vinyl can also be called ethynil and it’s a relatively simple compound that can combine with other chemicals to also form a polymer. A common one is polyvynil chloride, or PVC, which is a plastic and what we’re commonly referring to when we say vinyl.
PVC is so common, it’s actually the third most abundantly produced plastic on the planet. It can come in a rigid form (used for things like bottles and bank cards) or flexible (used for stuff like inflatable toys and rain wear).
For domes, a vinyl coating provides strength, protection from the elements, and longevity.
When it comes to an air supported structure, the vinyl-coated polyester needs to be durable and weather resistant. The outer layer is, therefore, thicker and heavier to provide a heavy-duty barrier against the elements.
Taking this to the next level, for domes that need to stand the test of time, we have another layer to add: DuPont Tedlar film.
This layer will preserve the colour and cleanliness of the fabric and also significantly lengthen the lifespan.
With all this technology thrown into our air dome fabric, it’s no wonder The Farley Group stands behind the longest warranty in the business: 20 years!
An air dome’s strength comes from a sum of all the different components and the fabric walls bring the bulk of that.
Who would have thought that walls made of fabric could be so tough?
Who doesn’t love life hacks? You’ve probably seen some YouTube videos or Facebook articles that have made the rounds with quick tips and tricks meant to make your life easier. This week we’ll share a few scientifically proven life hack’s for athletes.
If you’re an athlete or a coach for a team, these life hacks could make a difference in that next championship match.
Clench Your Fists Under Pressure
If it’s a close game and you’re feeling the pressure, the worst thing you can do is let the pressure get to you and affect your performance. This hack says clenching your left fist will help to calm those jittery nerves. Sounds weird? Well there is a scientific explanation for why this works:
Clenching your left fist helps to activate the right side of your brain—the part that controls your innate and automatic behaviours. This means all those movements and skills that you’re able to do without consciously thinking will be able to happen without any interference from that pesky left side of your brain. Neat!
The Winning Colour is Red
Ever notice that the red team seems to win more often than other colors? No, it’s not an anecdotal observation, there is actual scientific backing that supports the idea that players wearing red will outperform their opponent.
The effect only seems to work with males, and other studies have shown that a red stimuli increases male dominance in several non-human species. For humans, it looks like wearing red increases the probability of winning across a wide range of sports.
So until red uniforms are banned, you may want to update the look of your soccer team’s kit.
Grunting to Throw Your Opponent Off
This hack seems to be well known on the tennis court, but grunting loudly while swinging your racket or kicking a soccer ball could give you an edge. Not because grunting makes you hit harder (as some athletes think) but because it might unnerve your opponent and hurt their concentration.
This study explains that a loud grunt can throw off your opponents perception of what is happening around them. It can startle them into making a mistake and open up an opportunity for you.
Singing to Calm Your Nerves
You shouldn’t only be grunting away during a match. If you are under a heavy pressure situation that’s giving you the jitters, this hack could bring you back down to earth. If you’re in a tied shootout and you start to feel yourself lock up, try singing a song.
It doesn’t need to be out loud (you might get some funny stares if it was), but humming a song under your breath could help you to concentrate. Researchers surmise that by singing, you turn off the part of the brain that is overloaded from stress. Singing helps you to focus on what you need to do, without worrying about whether you’ll fail or succeed.
Some of these life hacks may seem silly, but they’re all scientifically proven to give an edge during a game or match. Most of them are simple and easy to do, so why not try them during your next game of indoor soccer or tennis?
How do LEDs Work: The Science of Saving Money In Your Dome
The great thing about domes is that they help reduce energy and carbon footprints. Bubbles do this by reducing the materials needed for an indoor facility, and making maximum use of available space. Another way that air structures help the environment is with LED lights.
We’ve talked about LED lights before, including why they haven’t seen much use until now, and why they seem to be popping up everywhere now, but today we’re taking a step back, putting back on our science hats, and looking at how LED lights work.
To begin to understand LEDs, we should go back to basics and look at how electricity works. Electricity is movement of energy. When a charge exists, it means that there is more energy in one area than there is in another. If given the opportunity, this charge will flow in the direction of least resistance.
You can think of it in the same way you think of water. If you have a bucket of water and pour it on the ground, it will flow in the direction of gravity, taking the path of least resistance. Water will flow in, or create, a groove that demonstrates this path of least resistance.
Electricity is much the same and flows from a high-energy area to a low energy area in the simplest path. When electric current is able to flow well through something, that material is known as a conductor. If a material stops the flow of electricity, it is an insulator. Simple, right?
Well there also exists another type of material that isn’t quite a conductor and isn’t quite an insulator. A material can appear to be an insulator until the current increases to such a point where it becomes a conductor. Materials that have a tipping point like this are called semi-conductors.
LEDs are made using a special semi-conductor materials called p-type and n-type silicon.
Using this principle of semiconductors, the two types of silicon can be combined to create what is called a junction diode. Simply put, a semiconductor diode allows conduction in one way and when the current reaches a certain point, the electrons activate a release of energy.
What’s unique about LEDs is that this release of energy is pretty much only in the form of photons, or light. This means that no energy is lost as heat, sound, or movement.
Makes sense? If not, here’s a pretty good link that explains it in a bit more detail.
As far as dome owners need to know, LED lights are bright and use up much less electricity than typical lights. While domes are naturally relatively easy to light up because of the shape and white colour of the inside walls, sports like soccer and ultimate Frisbee need lots of light. The closer we can get to the brightness of the outdoors during the day, the better it is for athletes to focus on their sport.
That’s why LEDs are the only way to go. By being brighter, lighter, and smaller than other types of lights, it’s possible to light up your dome as much as possible, without spending more money.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world—about 250 million people play the sport. That’s the equivalent of about 5/6ths the entire population of the United States of America. Because the sport spreads so far, not everyone plays the game in the same way. For example, millions of people play soccer indoors in air domes to protect them from poor playing conditions.
There are a lot more variations on the sport than you may realize though. If you’re getting tired of traditional soccer, here are a few soccer-related (perhaps distantly related) sports that might be worth a try…
Voccer is simple. Picture soccer crossed with volleyball and you’ve got the gist. Using a volleyball, this game allows you to use your hands. You must volley the ball into the air just like in volleyball, but the only way to pass the ball to a teammate is with your feet.
The aim is to get the ball into your opponents goal using either your hands or feet.
This game is a little bit more dangerous than typical soccer because it involves strapping a couple blades to your feet!
The game is played similar to indoor soccer, but the difference is that it’s played on a sheet of ice, and the players need to skate around the arena. Using a smaller size soccer ball and smaller nets, the game looks a bit more like ice hockey than soccer but it’s definitely a cool way to spend an afternoon.
Players just need to be careful not to slice other players or the ball with their sharp skates!
Footby is another cross sport and mixes elements from soccer, football (the American one), and rugby.
If you’ve got a couple full teams that don’t mind a little jostling, check this game out for a fun afternoon on the field.
Hungerball is a soccer variant that seems to be catching on, especially as a party game. It does require more specialized equipment than a traditional game of soccer, though.
Using an inflatable arena, six players enter, each with a net that they must protect. Players lose when they allow too many goals. Alliances form, strategies are decided on the fly, and everyone has a great time.
Like bubble soccer, we think this is a perfect party sport to have in any multisport dome!
Looking for more sports to keep your soccer team busy? Or to offer patrons of your multisport dome? Check out any of the above new soccer games to spice up your indoor soccer play! And if you have suggestions on other soccer type games that are new and up-and-coming, let us know in the comments!
Hi there, my name is Andu I am the founder and CEO of Hungerball Ltd in New Zealand. thanks for featuring Hungerball on your website, which looks really cool btw. We're actually in the process of setting up an operation in Canada near Toronto - maybe we can find ways to cooperate if this may be of interest to you, let us know, best wishes, Andu
Winter is here and that means professional tennis players are hard at work training (on indoor tennis bubble courts, hopefully) in preparation for the 2017 season. While 2017 is only a few days old, fans have already begun to speculate on who might dominate the courts in the coming year.
Since we ended 2016 with a roundup of the year in tennis, this week we weigh in on what the ESPN experts had to say. This may help you to decide which players to root for during this year’s tournaments.
The Australian Open
This tournament starts the season and takes place in the latter half January. The consensus is that on the men’s side, Andy Murray will dominate despite having lost the final match in this tournament five times over the past 7 years.
On the women’s side, it could be a tossup between Serena Williams and last year’s champ, Angelique Kerber.
The French Open
Occurring from the 28th of May to the 11th of April, the second Grand Slam event looks to be an interesting one. The predictions are a little less definitive, but it looks like Rafael Nadal might be the one to come out on top. He seems to be the most deadly on a clay surface.
Last year, Serena Williams lost to Garbine Muzura in last year’s final at the French Open. Because of Garbine’s strength on the clay, most writers agreed that it could likely be a repeat from last year.
The famous English tournament is happening from the 3rd to the 16th of July this year and it looks to be another doozy. For the men’s, Murray is naturally a top pick for some, but a couple others are picking the veteran, Roger Federer. If Roger wins, it would be his 18th Grand slam title—an achievement that just might motivate him enough to give it everything he’s got left.
It looks like Serena Williams is the by far favourite for this tournament, taking place on her strongest surface: grass. It would be a surprise to see her lose a tournament she’s been so successful at in the past.
The US Open
The bookend Grand Slam event will be starting on the 28th of August and ending on the 10th of September. Historically, Murray hasn’t done his best at this tournament, but a couple writers think he may just turn it around. The other top pick is Juan Martin Del Potro, who just might find himself at home on this surface.
For the women, the writers don’t really have a favorite, so it looks like this one could be anyone’s tournament. Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova… Be careful if you’re betting on this one!
What do you think? Are ESPN’s predictions on target? It will be fun to look back at the end of 2017 and see just how close they were!
Running in the Winter: How to Avoid Injuring Yourself
Most multisport facilities and air domes include a running track—the perfect solution for runners that are scared of injuries from falling on slippery snow and ice. Here are a few more tips on staying safe as a runner this winter!
A regular fitness regimen is one of the keys to staying healthy, and running has found favor with a large number of North Americans. Maintaining a regular running schedule during the warm months is easy, but what happens when it gets cold and both the roads and sidewalks are slick with ice and snow? While an occasional muscle cramp is manageable, sprains and broken bones are burdens no one wants.
Runners like to wear the sort of clothing that does not restrict their movements, but this approach can be problematic in wintertime. You need to stay warm in order to preserve your health, which means shorts are definitely out. It is okay to feel a bit cooler at first, but you need to choose your amount of clothing based on the idea of staying warm while sweating. Experiment with what works and do not be afraid to double layer both top and bottom articles of clothing. Be sure not to forget a hat and gloves.
Unless you are planning on running in boots (bad idea), your running shoes are going to get wet because of the snow and slush. That means water might seep through the shoes and make your feet wet as well as cold. Choose socks that will deflect the water and keep your feet warm.
Choose Bright Colours
Runners already know the importance of choosing colors that allow others to still see them when the sun is low in the sky. This also applies to winter. Just because snow is white and it is daytime does not mean you will stay visible, particularly during periods of blowing snow. Plan the colour of your clothing accordingly.
The wind can be particularly bitter this time of year, and having to run into an icy breeze is not exactly something that will motivate you. Whenever possible, start your run with the wind blowing in this direction, but finish with it at your back. That way, if you are sweaty, the effects of the cold will feel less punishing. You are out there trying to improve your health, not end up in bed with the flu.
And now the most effective solution to avoid hurting yourself while running in winter…
All of the precautions mentioned above can help prevent injury and illness, but do not address the main problems: running in the winter just plain sucks. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s slippery, and it can be hard to breath. It is tough to stay interested when having to deal with so many negatives.
Fortunately, you have a tempting alternative. Many air-supported sports domes include a running track. This allows you to do laps in environmentally controlled comfort that mirrors spring and summer. No extra clothing and discomfort, no cancelled runs because the thermometer just dipped another 15 degrees. If it is safe for you to walk or drive to the dome, then it is safe for you to do your workout.
Running is just one of the sports you can enjoy all-year-round in an air-supported dome. Contact your local sports facility to find out what programs are available and how to sign up. Start working off those extra Christmas pounds in January, not April!
Professional Indoor Soccer: The World Indoor Soccer League
Think indoor soccer is just a game played by kids and weekend warriors in soccer domes? No way—even pros play indoor soccer.
The MLS, North America’s premier soccer league, has grown steadily since inception, but have you ever wondered why there isn’t a professional indoor soccer league? Well you might be surprised to learn that it does (or rather, did) exist! It was called the World Indoor Soccer League. But where did it come from? Where did it go? This week we’ll look back on the WISL and what happened to it.
Indoor soccer has been around for longer than you might have imagined. After all, in countries like Canada and the US, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for playing outside. Especially in the winter. A sport as popular and universally enjoyed as soccer isn’t easy to put down, so why not play inside?
The World Indoor Soccer League was actually born from the failure of a predecessor, the Continental Indoor Soccer League. When the CISL flopped, the World Indoor Soccer League was born from its ashes. Four CISL teams created a new league called the Premier Soccer Alliance.
There were high hopes for this new league and a merger was in the works between the Premier Soccer Alliance and another league from England. This was to create a European division and North American division. The league changed its name to the World Indoor Soccer League to reflect this merger.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, the merger never actually happened.
A soccer league that spanned the globe would have been an amazing thing. But unfortunately, it was never meant to be.
Despite the setback, the WISL kept running and grew to nine teams. Eight based out of US cities, and one team from Mexico.
The league existed from 1998 and continued for four seasons, but because of the failure to grow the league and merge it with a European division, the league folded in 2001. Several of the teams decided to abandon ship to a newly organized indoor soccer league, the Major Indoor Soccer League. The MISL itself would operate from 2001 to 2008, when all the teams went on to several other newer indoor leagues.
It’s obvious that professional indoor soccer has had a bit of a rocky start. In North America alone, over a dozen different leagues came and went since the sport’s inception.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a popular sport though. The fact that players, teams, and facilities kept creating new leagues showed die-hard support for the game. Presently there are three active leagues: Major Arena Soccer League, Premier Arena Soccer League, and the Western Indoor Soccer League.
We’ve seen first-hand just how popular of a sport indoor soccer has become in North America. Every year we create more soccer domes across Canada and the US. If you’d like to learn more about indoor soccer and what it takes to have a dome for your team or community, get in touch with us today!