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Thread: Fencing Science Fair Project

  1. #1
    Just Joined jmcarey4's Avatar
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    Fencing Science Fair Project

    My daughter is a fencer and a jr high student who needs to come up with a science fair project by next month. Has anyone seen any or have any ideas for science fair projects that involve fencing? I'm trying to find a science fair project that she will enjoy as well as learn something from.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
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    haha actually yes. My sophomore year science in high school I did a fencing project, and made a thread asking for help here too.

    Science project
    -Kevin

  3. #3
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    What are the expectations of the science fair? Are they aiming for new inventions, reproduceable experiments, or extensive writeups?

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    Senior Member ThatReallyHurt's Avatar
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    A few thoughts (I always like thinking of stuff like this). Pardon me if I'm way off base here, though!

    - Flexibility/tensile strength of different materials (metal/wood/plastic/whatever).

    - How are fencing masks built strong enough to keep people safe?

    - Puncture resistance - compare different materials, maybe everything from t-shirts to denim to thick cotton to ballistic nylon?

    - How and why sweating works... could be something far enough as to look at whether "sport drinks" are worth it?

    - How a fencing scorebox works? Lots of stuff on various things in that department, like how it does what it does, why it doesn't zap people who have been fencing all day and are sweaty...

    - A study on muscle development in fencers - does asymmetrical training actually change your body's shape? Is that a bad thing? Is it easy to fix?

    - Any number of things on hand-eye coordination. Like point control, parrying, that sort of thing.

    - Reflexes.

    - How long does it take people to get used to the confines of a fencing mask? Do you ignore the mesh, or does your brain just adapt to it being there?

    - How long does it take a decent right-handed fencer to gain a particular level of aptitude if they fence left-handed (and vice-versa). Is it even possible? Does that ruin their regular-handed fencing? If so, why?

    - Is there a way to make a fencing mask safer? More comfortable?

    - A statistical look at how safe fencing is, compared to other common sports that people your daughter's age play?


    Good luck!
    Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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    why it doesn't zap people who have been fencing all day and are sweaty...
    You assume they don't, and according to a recent thread here, many people have reported shocks recently.

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    Senior Member lefty_monster's Avatar
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    Wow, I find it shocking that machines would malfunction that way.

    (Sorry, couldn't help myself!)
    We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

    Founding Father of the 516,649 Post Thread.
    http://www.fencing.net/forums/thread29458.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member brtech's Avatar
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    My son did one, but he was into computers and writing code was easy for him. He wrote a program that judged foil given the positions of the fencers and their weapons as measured by a 3D position sensing system. We had access to the actual device (which puts LEDs on the points you want to measure and uses a set of cameras to locate them), but the project really was just a simulation.

    It was, as science fair projects went, more than a little cool. Of course it really didn't work, but he learned a lot, and was able to talk quite intelligently with the judges about what he did, how it worked, and what its limitations were.

    He went to states on it, and lost to the kid whose dad got him access to a functional MRI system where he did brain studies on something or other. The actual MRI project was ho hum, but the wow factor was way up there.

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    Go get a testing box design off the internet and have your daughter make it. I don't know your budget, but here's what I'd do. I'd probably go out and buy an FPGA to do the circut on and have her learn what the various SIMPLE circut components do and how to program an FPGA and what an FPGA is. Of course, you could also just have her make the circut on a breadboard or something.

    Anyawys, she'd get to dress up in fencing kit and make a buzzing noise when poking you or the judges with her weapon of choice. Bonus points if it's not epee.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Redblade's Avatar
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    When I was younger, I used to wonder how much force is delivered at the tip of a fencing sword on impact with a simple arm extension, and then how much that force increases when the extension is incorporated with an advance or lunge. (And how much damage such force, applied through a small surface area, could do to bare human flesh.)

    Now? I don't care so much as long as I get the point first and no one gets hurt.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Redblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatReallyHurt View Post
    How long does it take a decent right-handed fencer to gain a particular level of aptitude if they fence left-handed (and vice-versa). Is it even possible? Does that ruin their regular-handed fencing? If so, why?
    Ooh! I almost wish I had a school-age kid of my own for this one. Very easy to set up a simple test for data collection. ... Lefty poking at a small target right-handed, versus righty poking left-handed -- who improves quicker?

  11. #11
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    Lots of good ideas here for projects. Hope you follow up on some of them. You could have quite a bit of fun and do some real science beyond the normal science fair projects. The world doesn't need another model volcano...

    You could do some of the ideas (image analysis acceleration, etc) using these tools:

    Measurement in Motion - image analysis software that let's you identify points and draw angles between points on digital video, could also be used to do studies of different types of shoes just like the shoe companies do.

    Vernier Software and Technology - has a built in image analysis tool in their software that lets you link video with their accelerometers, force plate, strain gauges, temperature probes, and other data collection tools

    Basically between these two sources, you can build a sports research lab that will let you set up and evaluate lots of physiological and biomechanical related questions.

    I've toyed with an idea to help schools/clubs set up a simple lab to have kids around the country evaluate and/or design fencing shoes along the lines of the old runner's world shoe survey that could be offered through American Fencing Magazine and fnet during the build-up to Bejing as a hook to science and sports. Might still be worth doing...

    You could if you have access to the equipment (which many middle and high school classrooms in US do have) set this up on your own.

    Good luck!
    -------------------
    "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
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  12. #12
    Senior Member the ancient one's Avatar
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    Lately I have been studying a few things myself. By single framing my DVD of last years foil World Championships I can tell you who has the fastest extension, parry and lunge etc...as well as who feints octave twice, then seconde the third time when he really is attacking

    To get actual time values you will have to understand the timing of PAL and NTSC video signals and how PAL is converted to NTSC.

    On a related note I am looking at "simple" and "choice reaction" times and how they relate to fencing distance. For example within lunging distance (therefore lunging time) how much decision time is available to the defender (compared to choice reaction time)? You can see my further comments and a list of some published papers on this topic in Craigs "Next Sports Science" thread.
    Last edited by the ancient one; 08-09-2007 at 02:17 PM. Reason: add "and a list of published papers"
    "a braggart, a rogue, a villaine that fights by the book of arithmatick. Why the dev'l came you betweene us?.."

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