Smart Sensor Basketball
There may be no replacement for practice and repetition, but smart technology can certainly enhance the results. Smart sports equipment such as the 94Fifty basketball, created by InfoMotion Sports, proves that point perfectly. This new basketball can provide valuable feedback involving the user’s ball-handling skills.
Fitted with nine accelerometers (sensors that detect movement) the smart sensor basketball can measure speed, rotation, and analyze shots. The data is sent in real time to a smartphone via Bluetooth, so users can track their performance. With this valuable information, ball players can quickly adapt their techniques to elicit the best results and improve their game.
The smart basketball may feel slightly different, but it’s meant for honing specific skills; not for actual game play. However, this may change in the near future as technology becomes even lighter, smaller, and better.
Smart Tennis Racquet
The Play Pure Drive tennis racquet, created by Babolat, not only showcases smart technology, it also lets users compete in the virtual realm. Similar to the smart basketball, the racquet is built to identify and analyze most tennis movements such as serves, backhands, and forehands. The racquet’s additional benefits come from its ability to compare individual performances with those of friends, other players, and even professionals.
Using integrated sensors, the racquet can measure where the ball meets the strings, swing speed, and the type of swing being used. That data can then be transferred to a smartphone app where the stroke is analyzed, providing the user with an easy means to observe any playing faults. If that isn’t helpful enough, the app can also connect with other users to compare practice and competition data. This sharing of data works on two levels, both motivating users and educating them. Seeing the accomplishment of small goals through data may push players to work harder, while still enabling them to enjoy the sport.
Sports sensor experts at Zepp have created a smart bat capable of producing a 3-D image for the benefit of coaches and athletes. By using gyroscopes and accelerometers, the bat can measure metrics such as swing speed, hand speed, angles, and impact. Coaches can use the smart bat to compare the swings of athletes and find the optimum technique.
All the technology in this smart bat is located in a small disk affixed to the bat’s barrel. It collects data, sending it to a smartphone app where it is organized and visualized. Athletes are then able to watch 3-D illustrations of their swing from multiple angles, enhancing the understanding of their swing mechanics. Being able to practice a few swings, and then immediately replay them for comparison, opens the gateway to rapid learning and improvement.
Smart Running Shoes
Most experienced runners want to know everything they can to stay healthy and improve their performance. Running is an athletic exercise that can benefit from the tracking of variables such as splits, pace, mileage, heart rate, and calories burned. The smart running shoe, by Under Armour, may be the most advanced answer to optimizing these variables. It combines various in-shoe sensors with a smartphone app.
Capable of real-time updates and future analysis, these smart running shoes can identify long-term patterns and provide feedback that can help runners push through to the finish. Unlike other smart sensors that must be connected or disconnected, these shoes have built-in sensors that automatically activate when a certain pace is hit. This improves battery life, and means a runner can start and stop at their whim. Due to the advanced sensors in these shoes, coaches can use them to show progress on multiple levels, instead of just tracking and comparing an athlete’s time.
Future Sports Equipment and Young Minds
Advancements in technology are inevitable, which means sports equipment will continuously be enhanced as well. Coaches who see the benefits of collecting and visualizing data can use these tools during training to better their athletes. Athletes who participate in interscholastic sports already train hard and make improvements quickly. Athletic programs that add smart sports equipment to the mix are likely to see even more outstanding improvements to athletic training and performance. To keep pace with their athletes’ willingness and ability to learn, it’s important for coaches to update and educate themselves on new strategies, tools, and certainly on new technologies. Athletes everywhere want to measure and see their improvement on a tangible level, and using smart sports equipment can achieve that.