The Story of Humidome
As a competitive badminton player, I have spent a small fortune on badminton shuttlecocks over the years. I have always been somewhat frustrated with the poor durability of shuttles, but never really gave a thought on how to fix the problem.
That changed on the 5th of February 2016 when, during a match, me and a friend of mine ran out of shuttles, and I ran to the shop to buy a new tube for some 35 euros. Apparently the shuttles had been sitting in the shelf for quite some time, as they didn’t last more than a couple of hard smashes each.
After the game, I remember sitting beside the court thinking that there must be way to improve the durability of the shuttles. It just didn’t make any sense to me that the shuttles would cost as much as they did, and break as easily as they did.
As soon as I got home I started thinking what could be done to improve the durability. I knew some of the players at our club stored their shuttles inside the fridge, and some players had suggested storing the opened shuttle tubes in the bathroom to increase the humidity inside the tube. However, I found these methods way too troublesome for me, and was in search for an easier solution. As I did the research and performed some tests, it became apparent that humidity is the single most important factor affecting the durability of shuttlecocks.
I then started developing a prototype of a product that would solve this problem. I wanted it to be super easy to use, so that with practically zero effort, my shuttles would always be optimally stored.
The very first prototype I made was a disposable shot glass filled with water absorbing chemicals from a disposable baby diaper. My brother had just had a baby, and he was kind enough to supply me with an (unused!) baby diaper so I could get one of the liquid absorbing chemical ingredient I needed. To keep liquid absorbing crystals taken from the diaper inside the shot glass, I taped a piece of pantyhose to make a cover lid for the glass - quite an elegant solution now that I think about it.I measured the rise of humidity inside the tube with a hygrometer, and sure enough the humidity levels started rising just as expected. The next time I went to play badminton, I was super excited to see if the humidity had any effect on the durability. And boy did it have - after two full sets, we were still playing with the very same shuttle, without missing a single of the sixteen feathers.
A couple of shape alternatives for the top, made out of wood. Used as moulds for vacuum forming transparent plastic sheets.
Fast forward about eighteen months - after dozens of different prototypes, 3D prints, countless different tests, dead ends, trials and errors, but overall constant improvement, and I finally have a product in my hands which fills my original aim - to maximise the durability of shuttlecocks with zero effort.
Some of the 3D prints. When ordering the one on the left, I thought "Petrol Velvet" was the name of the color - it turned out to be actual velvet.
The product is designed to last as long as possible, and I’m convinced it will save my fellow badminton players a lot of money through decreased shuttlecock consumption, and make the lives of badminton players just a tiny bit better.
The small plastic material beads on the left turned into a real product by a technique called injection moulding.
The product is designed and manufactured in Finland, and is available for purchase here.