TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute | Identification number
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Identification number

Human-Material Interaction
About This Project

A solution for inconvenient breast and numbers in the sport
Participants in sporting events are required to wear identification numbers on the front and back of their shirt. A personal number that is visible to the organization with the name / number of the athlete, the event and the sponsors printed on a large paper. The current breast and numbers cause great inconvenience to athletes. TU Delft is exploring with InnoSportLab Papendal InnoSportNL feasibility to come up with an innovative alternative.


Breast and numbers are used in the same way for many years. The athlete attaches the number on his shirt with safety pins. Recreational tournaments like marathons also add functionality for electronic timing to the paper chest and back numbers. Although there have been developments in the area of paper type, print timing technique and technology, the basics are not changed. Despite the obvious drawbacks for athletes.


Some drawbacks

Breast and numbers limit the operation of high-tech aerodynamic sportswear;
Inflexibility of the paper restricts the free movement during performance;
The track covers a large part of the breast and the size often does not fit the short women-tops;

The safety pins are a risk, for example in the high and long jump;
Practical problems such as damage to clothes and confirm tricky.




A survey was conducted by students of the university. They mapped the formal function of the identification number, and how it is used in the sport practice. Athletes Anouk Hagen and Olaf van den Bergh cooperated. In addition, they looked at possible alternatives and innovative solution which are suitable for use in professional sports. After the inventory with the various user groups such as timekeepers, organizers, sponsors and athletes a program of requirements is drawn up.