Developments to Watch
PIGSKINS WITH A WHOLE NEW SPIN
Alan J. Adler's Aerobie flying ring is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the farthest-thrown object: 1,257 feet. A triangular boomerang he invented, the Aerobie Orbiter, earned him an invitation to give an aerodynamics lecture at NASA's Ames Laboratory. Now, his Palo Alto (Calif.) company, Superflight Inc., has produced a foam football with curved tail fins that spins in flight at more than 1,000 revolutions per minute on a 20-yard throw.
Two other finned footballs have also bounced onto the market this year: the Vortex from OddzOn Products Inc. and the Long Bomb from Little Kids Inc. But those have straight fins, which slow their rotation. The Aerobie Football's computer-designed curved fins actually accelerate its rotation in flight. That makes it much easier to throw a perfect spiral. Warning to southpaws: You have to throw the football right-handed to make the curved fins do their work.EDITED BY RUTH COXETER