From the gotta-have gadgets like Fitbit to motivational apps, fitness tech has been making huge strides lately. Even at this year’s US Open, Ralph Lauren outfitted the ball boys with smart shirts that track activity, breathing and heart rate. Just in time for the Open, Sony upped their game by announcing the Smart Tennis Sensor, which (despite the super boring name) promises to help tennis players kick more ass on the courts. According to Sony, it’ll be released in the U.S. in January, so add it to your wish list now. Armed with this glorious little product, we’re confident we can reach Serena Williams status before next year’s tournament season begins.
The technology behind this tiny thing is pretty powerful. It’s a device that sits on the end of your racket where it’s out of the way, but it watches you like a hawk.
As you play, it promises to keep track of your shot count, ball impact spot, swing speed, ball speed and ball spin. Basically, any information you’d ever want to know about your game — it KNOWS. Using sensitive motion, wave and vibration detection, it picks up different swing types, so it knows the difference between your topspin forehand and slice serve. It will even recognize your inconsistent, but deadly overhead smash.
The sensor is equipped with Bluetooth, so it will sync and store your tennis data in the complementary app for iOS and Android. It’ll show real-time swings, heat mapping, rally information and shot metrics. You can also run reports to analyze and look for places to improve your skills. If you’re hitting all your backhands too early, it’ll know!
It’ll also allow you to share your epic progress and match wins across different social media platforms. Sharing is caring!
The live mode video feature is very exciting too. The pros use video all the time to analyze what they’re doing right and what they could be doing better. This feature does the same thing, but with an extra layer of data on top. Have a friend video tape you while you’re playing and the sensor will record shot data in tune with that footage. It’s the absolute best way to get to know what your body’s doing and learn how to improve your placement and form.
Sony intends the sensor to be accessible for beginners, but provide crazy-useful intelligence to advanced players too (it’s even been approved by the International Tennis Federation for use in competition). You can also transfer the device from racket to racket easily, so you won’t lose any of your data if you switch gear.
If you’re wondering if this’ll work with your current racket, that’s unclear. Sony has partnered with Wilson, Prince (the brand, not the artist) and Yonex on this project. The new sensor will be compatible with select models from these manufacturers, but they haven’t revealed if that will include any existing rackets.
We’re excited to see how this technology shapes future wearable tech devices, since it seems to include such a dynamic sensor in comparison to some of the others out there. Perhaps we’ll improve our snowboarding turns or our volleyball serves by next year.
Would you invest the $200 in this tennis tech? Let us know in the comments!