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From smart basketball to William Shatner
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 28, 2013 @ 9:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY Sports
Now that a new regulation-sized, normal-looking basketball can transmit 6,000 bits of data per second, maybe we can all move on to creating robot players.
The 94Fifty ball, which is named for the dimensions of a pro or college basketball court and will go on sale online in April, bills itself as the world’s first smart basketball and is meant to turn even a simple layup into a pile of data.
The ball, with its data retrieval system, will cost $295. It supposedly feels like a regular ball even as it conducts its on-court surveillance. And while this is a ball that needs to be recharged, hey, it’s the 21st-century so don’t worry — the ball can be recharged wirelessly.
Founder and CEO Michael Crowley, of the Dublin, Ohio-based InfoMotion Sports Technologies says the six sensors embedded in the ball’s exterior can transmit data within 100 milliseconds to Android smart devices located up to 90 feet away. The system includes an app that offers suggestions to players to improve their form.
OK, so you won’t have to wait long for the information. But why would you even want to see such data?
The target consumers, says Crowley, are 12-20-year-olds. “They’re so tech-savvy,” he says. “And they demand instant feedback.”
The idea is that by, say, collecting data on dribble force, you can see how much weaker a player is with one hand as opposed to his or her other.
After online sales begin in April, Crowley hopes to get the ball in retail stores and says he’s talking to leagues about using it in games — so coaches could use the data to improve play or sportscasters can create even more stats to show viewers.
Crowley says the 10-person company, founded in 2008, has already tested versions of the product, costing $2,500-$5,000, with teams in Italy and the Netherlands. Those versions, he says, have more “pattern-reaction algorithms,” are more suited for monitoring groups of players and offer videos showing drills meant to correct specific problems.
Obviously, this could go on and on and provide even more statistical fodder for obsessed coaches and a sports world crying … [For more on Sports biz: From smart basketball to William Shatner, click here.]
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