A team of aerospace engineers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a ground-breaking dart that can significantly improve the performance of elite-level darts players. According to the researchers, the dart is less sensitive to player errors and almost 50 per cent more accurate than a conventional dart.
The team used aerodynamic and design principles that they would normally apply to aircraft and missiles to improve the performance of darts, designing them in such as a way as to give players more control over their throw.In order to analyse the trajectory of the dart, they developed a robot that throws the dart consistently, while measuring release position, speed, trajectory and position on the board. A dart’s sensitivity could then be studied by simulating small errors in the throw.
The research has led to the establishment of Rocket Darts, a spin-off of TU Delft and part of its Aerospace Innovation Hub. The company is developing a new dart with improvements in aerodynamics, weight distribution and interaction with the board.
‘For various reasons, we saw a lot of potential for improving the dart,’ said Michiel van Nesselrooij, a TU Delft researcher and co-founder of Rocket Darts. ‘First of all, little attention has been paid until now to aerodynamic optimisation 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 dart can make a big difference to the sport and look forward to helping boost the performance of players of all levels.’