Should every table tennis racket have the traditional round shape? Since the 1880s, table tennis rackets have predominantly been the same shape. At STIGA, we think it’s high time to break the norm and find new solutions to improve a racket’s playing characteristics. That’s why, for several years, we’ve been busy developing, testing and refining a new type of blade, which we believe takes the playing experience to a whole new level. And now we’re very proud to present the results: Cybershape – a blade with unique characteristics, which is unlike anything you’ve seen or experienced before.
A total of 5% larger than a classic blade. A completely new shape that provides an optimised hitting area.
LARGER, OPTIMISED HITTING AREA
Larger hitting area which extends further out on the blade. Studies have shown that, for the majority of players, the preferred hitting area lies on the outer half of the blade. The hitting area on Cybershape is 11% larger for the shakehand grip and 9% larger for the penhold grip compared to a traditional blade.
LARGER, OPTIMISED HITTING AREA CLOSER TO THE TABLE
Its unique shape means that 6.5 cm of the hitting area is closer to the table compared with a traditional blade where the hitting area is 2.5 cm – a major advantage for short serves and returns.
LARGER SWEET SPOT
A larger sweet spot which extends further out on the blade, for optimal strokes and control.
LINEAR FREQUENCY RESPONSE
Cybershape has a more linear frequency response than a traditional blade, and as the vibrations are transported to the handle and hand in a different way, it creates a completely new feel and experience during play.
The new unique Cybershape shape is patent pending as well as design protected.
When developing Cybershape, it was important that its shape would not negatively affect the feel of the blade. Since feel is very subjective and every player has their own preferences, we not only test our blades on professional players, but also study them in labs to obtain data that is independent of personal preference. We decided early on that Cybershape would be based on test results and an objective assessment, rather than subjective preference and taste.
Research and studies on Cybershape have been ongoing at our “blade lab”, in collaboration with KTH Royal institute of Technology and professional players that represent our brand. During the development process, we studied hundreds of shapes, each with a slight variation. We wanted to find the perfect shape for an improved sweet spot, while providing the player with a better feel of the vibrations from ball impact. One thing we found particularly interesting is that the new shape not only yielded a larger sweet spot, but that the sweet spot had moved 5 mm outwards on the blade. This means that the sweet spot now lies further out on the blade where the majority of players make their best strokes, and where the optimal hitting area is found both technically and objectively. When it comes to the feel of a blade, we are primarily referring to the noise and vibrations that occur as the ball is hit; the vibration is then relayed to the player’s index finger and hand. In terms of measurements, we not only looked at the appearance of the vibrations at the centre of the blade, but we also investigated how, when the ball is hit, the vibrations are transferred to the handle, to the outer area of the blade and to the side of the blade where the index finger is placed.
By combining these four measurements, we gained a better understanding of the particular feel a player has during play, and how STIGA’s Swedish-made blades with their carefully selected wood combinations, together with our unique production process, make us stand out from our competitors. In collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, we also tested the vibration properties of Cybershape, i.e. how the blade responds when it meets the ball. The tests showed that Cybershape has a larger sweet spot that lies further out on the blade when compared with a regular-shaped blade. The frequency response is also more linear, which means that the vibrations are transported differently to the handle and hand. For the player, this means a completely new and unique feel during play compared with a traditional blade.
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