The Norfolk inventor teaming up with a multi-billion dollar sports franchise – and why he’s had to invent his own unit of measurement
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
A Norfolk inventor and a multi-billion dollar combat sports franchise may seem like unusual partners – but one man's passion for power has led him across the Atlantic.
Kevin Franklin, 67, has spent the last eight years developing the software behind the PowerKube, a tool he has created to measure impact of a blow.
After becoming obsessed with measuring force the Norwich engineer created a new unit, which he is calling the Franklin, which combines power and energy.
Now his company Strike Research, through its marketing arm Strike Coach, has linked up with US mixed-martial arts (MMA) giant UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) to supply its new desert headquarters in Las Vegas. The franchise uses the technology to measure its fighters, detect injuries and fine-tune technique.
Mr Franklin said: 'We can provide the UFC and athletes with several things. We can measure a fighter profile – go through their techniques and look at their strengths. We can look at the medical aspect.
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'We can measure a performance norm and if they drop below that you know something is wrong which can help diagnose an injury they don't know they have.
'In 2015 the UFC lost something like $90m because of fighters having to pull out of pay-per-view events because of injury.'
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Mr Franklin, who has a background in product development and engineering, became interested in impact and power after taking up karate to teach his daughters self-defence. 'I fell in love with it, but over time I became obsessed with measurement of impact,' he said. 'I realised all the measurements were subjective so were not comparable.
'All athletes want to compare themselves and know how they measure up to each other – otherwise it is like running the 100m without a stopwatch.'
The PowerKube, which took more than eight years to develop, is being used in several martial arts television shows and has featured in numerous academic papers.
Mr Franklin said it was being launched commercially next year with 100 sales expected in the first 12 months before reaching thousands in the next two or three years. He hopes the equipment can be installed in gyms and sports bars – for punters to test their punch against the pros.