What a great idea. I think people will gravitate to this like hot cakes. Reminds me of what people pay big bucks to do when they go to those virtual reality instructional venues to get their golf swing analyzed. This seems like it would do the same thing, for far less money and far more consistently. I would think golf clubs would be another natural place to leverage MEMS sensors and perhaps even baseball bats for serious players.
Would be interesting to see the user interface to view the data. After a couple sets, there would be a lot of information to digest. Amazing how this technology is bringing intelligence to sporting equipment. Thanks, Chuck.
A tennis racket that helps you improve your forehand and backhand, and also adjust your spin? What a neat idea. I just hope that the system is as fine-tuned as it must be to work well and give accurate, usable information instead of just tons of raw data. I'd think you could get a lot more data, and more accurate information, with motion capture devices like those used for virtual reality and in the movies.
I agree with you, Ann - this sounds like a really cool idea but it must be a HUGE challenge to interpret the data accurately and so that it is immediately useful. I am also wondering about the ruggedness of the sensors and associated electronics and if it would have a psychological effect on the person's play knowing they were there...
I also see your point about motion capture devices. I usually ask someone to video me when I am trying to understand something unusual going on when I am riding my horse - it is amazing what I can see in a video that I can also freeze for problem solving. It will be interesting to see how these tennis rackets "play" out! (pardon the pun LOL)
As an avid tennis player myself, I am not sure how helpful this would be in improving one's game... You need to be able to hit a stroke and analyze it right away in order to make corrections. A video of your play is absolutely THE best way to do this. Simply seeing an aggregation of data (or even strok-by-stroke data) about your strokes will just tell you where you are hitting the ball by and large and MAY indicate, for instance, that you're reaching for the ball or running into it...
I don't this this will work for the casual player other than a gee-whiz effect. For the serious player or the semi pro thinking about making slight changes to improve their game it'd be a huge time saver. Think about the number of good high-school and college players who are having problems with consistency and how quick the feedback would be. There are already shoes that sense pressure and acceleration, wrist sensors for arm speed, the racket completes the package.
I discovered commercial motion capture devices recently when writing about robot gesture recognition experiments. The material is a sensor tape containing a 3D bend-and-twist sensor based on fiber optics, which can be custom-designed by the user to monitor the bending and twisting of a person's body and limbs. The "tape" proves accurate positioning and orientation information all along its length, and is typically used in virtual reality, motion tracking, and robotic control applications.
I can see other possibilities for the technology and think this has significant application for describing kinetic movement.As a matter of fact Charles, you have given me an idea for the possible solution to a "nagging" problem involving the destruction of a motion sensor in a diesel "big rig".I intend to contact the company involved with the technology and start the process of "discovery".Who knows, the great sport of tennis may not be the only application.Many thanks and well done.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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