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February 11, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - A newly designed synthetic badminton shuttle called the "BALOKOK" is now being put through the last steps of development before it makes its debut in badminton retail outlets. This new shuttle has an innovative design that, according to its inventor, gives it playing characteristics that are truly very similiar to feather shuttles.

The "BALOKOK" is an innovation by Bill Carlton, the inventor of the original plastic-skirted shuttle as well as of the first lightweight metal badminton racket and of the more famous "Cyclops" line judging machine used in tennis tournaments. In an exclusive telephone interview with New Shuttlenws from his home on the island of Malta, Mr. Carlton indicated that the his new shuttle had been tested by the International Badminton Federation and that the IBF testers had found the "BALOKOK" to perform like feather shuttles.

Mr. Carlton also told New Shuttlenws that the "BALOKOK" was now going through shelf-life evaluation and that arrangements for world-wide distribution are being negotiated with various sporting goods marketers.

The elderly inventor, who had previously gotten embroiled in several patent violation court cases involving the original plastic shuttle, made it very clear that he had patented the "BALOKOK" design and that the design was protected under the world-wide Patent Cooperating Treaty.

The "BALOKOK" will initially be produced by Mr. Carlton under the Carlton and Carlton banner, named after himself and his youngest daughter. Carlton and Carlton is not connected with the Carlton brand of badminton equipment which the inventor had sold to the Dunlop organization more than seventeen years ago.

According to a source who has seen the new Carlton and Carlton shuttle, the design innovation involves the use of a tiny latex balloon attached to the shuttle's cork and placed within the plastic skirt, thus the name "BALOKOK". The balloon is also shaped to conform to the plastic skirt.

New Shuttlenws asked a practicing aircraft designer and competition badminton player on how the innovative design of the "BALOKOK" could achieve performance like that of a feather shuttle. According to this source, the balloon within the skirt would serve to prevent the folding and warping of the skirt that plagues the current generation of plastic-skirted shuttles and that causes these shuttles to lose spin and to fly with a flatter trajectory when these are hit hard. The balloon would also give more wind resistance to the "BALOKOK" and, if the outer skin of the balloon was properly textured, would make the combined surfaces of the plastic skirt and balloon aerodynamically more like the dense pattern of the overlapping feathers used in the "natural" shuttle.