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Fans Get Closer Than Ever To The All Blacks

University of Canterbury getting fans closer than ever to the All Blacks

Fibre imprinting nanotechnology developed at the MacDiarmid Institute of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at the University of Canterbury is going to get rugby fans closer than ever to the All Blacks.

The names of as many as 100,000 fans are to be printed onto a single thread which will be sewn into the Silver Fern on a special edition jersey in a campaign organised by All Blacks sponsor adidas.

Today All Blacks captain Richie McCaw visited Canterbury University to learn about the technology and look at a jersey with the names of all 1,073 past and present All Blacks stitched into the Silver Fern. (A microscopic image of McCaw's listing is attached below).

"I never thought it was possible but it's a cool concept. It's very special to see everyone's name lined up there."

He says having the names of fans stitched into the jersey will provide the team with a further reminder of the public support the team enjoys.

The process has been developed by Professor Richard Blaikie and research engineer Gary Turner at Canterbury University.

Professor Blaikie equates it to a "very, very, very sharp pencil" which can write 100 names per millimetre. He says the scale of the work was not particularly challenging. It was the use of a thread that presented the greatest challenges.

"We're used to imprinting onto silicon chip type substrates and so Gary and I did a whole lot of work to get it working on fibres. There were a lot of failures and head scratching. Then I thought we'd try something new, so we did and got it to work."

He says it is believed to be the first time nanotechnology has been used in a marketing and promotional exercise in this way.

"It's very exciting for us. We're largely technology driven but to have an application that pulls us in a different direction is fantastic."

adidas New Zealand Marketing Manager John Beckett says the This is not a Jersey campaign reflects the iconic status of the All Blacks uniform.

"The adiThread initiative aims to help New Zealand fans feel closer to the team and to provide the opportunity to be more intimately represented by the country's most famous team jersey.

"When you put your name on the jersey, you are literally a part of it - the fabric of a nation."

The fibre imprinting technology used to develop the adiThread has been commercialised by UC's technology transfer company, Canterprise Limited.

Canterprise CEO Raiyo Nariman says "adiThread demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology coming out of the University can be incorporated into innovative applications in fields outside technology-based products."

Fans can register for the adiThread promotion at


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