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Drone vs. Lacrosse

What does flying drones and playing lacrosse have in common? It's not a trick question...

Both are fun...?

Yeah, you're right they both are fun. What else do they have in common...?


Both take practice to be good at

Both are activities offered at AACC

Both are affected by the laws of physics

Speed. Acceleration. Velocity. Gravity. Air Resistance.

The forces acting on the object affect its direction which is important for predicting its movement. The Physics of both a drone and a lacrosse ball are important to understanding if you're looking to increase performance. When competing in a game or race, performance is everything if you want to win. According to the NCAA, lacrosse is currently one of the fastest growing sports. Drone racing has now become a nationally accepted sport and is aired on television channel ESPN. Both sports attract large audiences of spectators in person and online.

LASR @ AACC student Garrett Sauls is working toward developing a player performance analysis program using liveware & software data. Garrett is working with automated tracking cameras such as the "Solo Shot 3" & "Phantom 4 Pro v2" to determine KPI's for each area of interest. Importing the data from the drone into software gives the player and coach valuable insight on metrics used for evaluating technique. Suddenly it becomes much easier to understand how to improve.

Classroom + Real World Application #1 Physical Science & Sports

(PHS-100) Unit 1: Chapters 2 - 7 & Unit 2: Chapters 1 - 2

In class, we used a motion sensor with a frictionless cart and software called Capstone. This closely mimics some of the work Garrett and I do in the lab. In an effort to connect classroom concepts with real-world applications for the purpose of learning and involvement I have organized some of the information I learned in class with the lab experiments we tested on the field. I hope this helps other sports enthusiasts find relevance with the lessons from their physical science class.

Gravity = G x (mass #1) x (mass #2) / distance

Gravity and air resistance are to factors that impact the force and movement of the ball. If it’s a ground ball, then the force of friction acting with resistance on the ball will slow it down much faster than air resistance alone. This also compares and contrasts when moving from grass to artificial turf which can impact equipment performance. The ability to collect consistent and reliable data that can be measured gives us the opportunity to understand the relationship between forces.

Each object at rest is experiencing equilibrium. Equilibrium can be static or dynamic. Static equilibrium means the sum of net forces of an object is zero and it is stationary from movement. Dynamic means that the sum of net forces on the object is zero but it is moving. Gravitational force is pulling down while supporting force is pushing up. These two forces are on the vertical plane. Applied force and frictional force are on the horizontal plane and make up the object’s movement left and right.

KE = 1/2mv^2

Each players GPS location is stored in the video data along with the direction, acceleration, and velocity of the ball. With this information plus the weight and mass of the ball, we can calculate the amount of force needed to deliver the ball to the net almost each and every time. Each frame of the video is extracted and analyzed for useful data which can be used in lesson planning and classroom activities.

Interested in getting involved? Email


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