50% More Accurate: Aerospace Engineers Design Dart That Is Less Sensitive to Player Errors

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Darts Bullseye

Researchers from TU Delft have developed a dart that is nearly 50% more accurate than conventional darts due to its improved aerodynamics and flight mechanics. The dart’s design offers players more control over their throws. Top Dutch darts players, known as the TOTO Dart Kings, tested the new dart and participated in research analyzing their throwing techniques. The research has led to the establishment of Rocket Darts, a spin-off of TU Delft, which is developing the new dart with enhanced aerodynamics, weight distribution, and board interaction.

A dart that is less sensitive to player errors and is therefore almost 50% more accurate than a conventional dart. TU Delft researchers may have developed a groundbreaking dart that can significantly improve the performance of elite-level darts players. The new dart is designed using knowledge from aerodynamics and flight mechanics and aims to give players more control over their throw. Five top Dutch darts players, known as the TOTO Dart Kings, visited TU Delft on Tuesday, April 18. They tried out the new dart and took part in scientific research, including an analysis of their throwing technique. The players were impressed with the facilities and saw the potential of both the research and the redesigned dart to improve their performance and take the sport to new heights.

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TU Delft Darts

Credit: TU Delft

Pioneering dart

TU Delft researchers in the field of aerospace engineering discovered that the aerodynamic and design principles they apply for aircrafts and missiles also have the potential to improve the performance of darts. To analyse the trajectory of the dart, they developed a dart robot that throws the dart consistently, while measuring release position, speed, trajectory and position on the board. A dart’s sensitivity can be studied by simulating small errors in the throw. This research has led to the establishment of Rocket Darts, a spin-off of TU Delft and part of the Aerospace Innovation Hub. The company is developing a new dart with improvements in aerodynamics, weight distribution and interaction on the board. This makes the darts more precise and gives players more control over their throw.

TU Delft Darts

Credit: TU Delft

“For various reasons, we saw a lot of potential for improving the dart. First of all, little attention has been paid until now on aerodynamic optimization during development. Moreover, the rules allow for sufficient possibilities in the dart’s design and players are free to choose their own darts, which means that the performance of the dart can make a big difference. Finally, the sport has relatively few variables: the player, the dart and the air. This makes it easy to measure the impact of a change to the dart. We are convinced that the new (patented) dart can make a big difference to the sport and look forward to helping boost the performance of players of all levels.”
Michiel van Nesselrooij, TU Delft researcher and co-founder of Rocket Darts

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TU Delft Darts

Credit: TU Delft

TOTO Dart Kings

The TOTO Dart Kings team consists of the five best darts players in the Netherlands: Raymond van Barneveld, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Michael van Gerwen, Danny Noppert and Vincent van der Voort. As the only professional darts team in the Netherlands, they are actively collecting performance data to improve their decisions during matches. The team also focuses on the mental aspect of the sport and supports each other to improve in all areas. TOTO fully supports the sport of darts in the Netherlands, as the namesake of the TOTO Dart Kings team and as a partner of the Dutch Darts Association and main sponsor of the TOTO Dutch Darts Open. This support contributes to the further development of the sport, e.g. by adding experts to the team. A nutrition coach, biohacker, chiropractor and osteopath, among others, have been part of the team since its foundation in 2022. TU Delft’s scientific research makes an important contribution to the professionalization of the sport of darts.

“The research at TU Delft is a good example of how we work as a team. By participating in scientific research at TU Delft, the darts players gain more insight into their own throwing technique, learn from each other and see how this affects their scoring precision. Our goal is to use these insights to develop personalized training program to improve the performance of the players.”
Chris Woerts, sports marketer and founder of TOTO Dart Kings

TU Delft Darts

Credit: TU Delft

Dart research

On Tuesday, 18 April, the professional darts players not only tested the precision of the new dart, they also gained insight into their own way of throwing. TU Delft’s research focused on the arm movement of the players when throwing the dart and the flight path of the dart after the moment of release. Using these measurements, the researchers compared the throwing techniques between amateur and professional darts players and between the individual professional players. They analyzed the repeatability of the throws and its effect on the scoring precision. After today, the results of the measurements will be used to further develop the measurement setups, the dart robot and the new dart. The findings could lead to personalized training and increased advantages for professional darts players.

TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute

The TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute investigates how technology can be used to improve the performance of elite athletes. From materials and design to clothing and equipment, TU Delft investigates how technology can contribute to better and more efficient performance. Their darts research is a perfect example of this.

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