The University of Michigan is Building a Hydraulic Track That Can Add Hills and Banking With the Push of a Button

Michigan's football team continues to climb back into the national spotlight under head coach Jim Harbaugh, thus earning most of the headlines coming out of Ann Arbor; but the university hasn't forgotten about the rest of its sports programs.

Michigan is set to build a brand new, $168 million sports facility for its track & field, cross country, lacrosse, and rowing programs. The goal is to open the facility in 2018. With such a large budget, the Athletics South Competition and Performance Building (ASCP) is bound to have some wild technology inside, but even that doesn't compare with the crown jewel of the facility's amenities.

Photo via the University of Michigan

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The ASCP will have a hydraulically operated track, giving its users the "ability to create specific angles of embankment using hydraulic actuators that raise and lower the track surface," according to Sports Techie. Based on a 3D model designed on a computer, the track will be comprised of over 200,000 pounds of steel. The hydraulics will "flex the underlying steel creating up to 10-degree banks on each turn in just two minutes."

Once finished, the track's hydraulics system will be operated by a touchscreen to allow both runners and coaches to simulate different types of runs, like giving a cross country runner a bit of a hill to climb toward the end of his or her run.

When you usually think of hydraulics, you probably envision a brightly painted car bouncing up and down as it cruises through a side street. Now you'll think of the University of Michigan's ASCP.