Sports Gadgets Grow in Sophistication
By, Ted Kritsonis, CalgaryHerald.com
Health and fitness gadgets have helped advance the notion of collating data as a snapshot of activity, and the same premise is being applied to certain sports devices.
Technology has long been a factor in improving sporting performance, particularly in manufacturing materials, but the ubiquity and capabilities of mobile devices means connected sensors can measure performance through a player’s form and mechanics. And there are now several sports that are being supported.
Perhaps the most advanced and plentiful in that regard is golf, where there are several different types, mostly centring on improving your swing. Zepp Labs (formerly GolfSense) has its $150 Zepp Golf sensor, which is smaller than its predecessor and arguably more accurate. Connecting to an iOS or Android phone or tablet via Bluetooth, it collects a series of analytics to help improve swing performance. The free app also includes video and tips from some professional golfers, too.
The Gamegolf Digital Tracking System is a wearable device and swing tracker tag that records the clubs used, distance covered and swing trajectory, along with various other metrics. It’s a bit more comprehensive, and expensive at $230, but covers more ground for the average golfer.
Zepp also takes the same approach to swinging mechanics with its baseball and tennis sensors. Both work in a very similar way, where a coach, parent or friend can capture the player swinging from a side view to compare movement and timing with other attempts. Unlike the golf sensor that sticks to a glove, the baseball and tennis ones ($150 each) stick to the bottom of the bat and racquet.
While not exclusively meant to be practice tools, they aren’t overly practical to use in an actual game situation.
This is also true of a smart basketball or soccer ball. The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball looks a lot like an official NBA ball, except it’s $220 and the sensor inside tracks shooting, dribbling and even shot backspin, which it then pushes to a free iOS and Android app.
The Adidas mi Coach Smart Ball does much of the same for soccer players, tracking speed, spin, strike and trajectory, though the cost is high at $330. There are tips from pros on how to kick to bend or knuckle the ball, including drills for touches and handling.
Skiers and snowboarders might like what the Trace Action Sports Tracker offers. The $200 waterproof device is only available through the company website, but it offers a wide range of uses, including for summer activities like surfing and water-skiing.
Last, but certainly not least, is hockey, with the Quattriuum FWD Powershot 2, a stick sensor that focuses mainly on shooting by highlighting power, speed, flexibility and angle, among other metrics. It’s also possible to measure the duration of the shot and how much weight transfers in motion. It currently sells for $150 and can slide into any shaft. It’s also light and discreet enough to use during actual games.
For the full story, head over to The Calgary Herald.