So it seems like intelligent sports are the future, as this reminds me of the football with the camera you reported on, Chuck. http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=259718
Team these technologies up with a soccer ball that can charge a phone or a lamp (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=260401) and its seems like sports equipment is getting smarter and smarter. I wonder how this will change how we play sports and how professional sports are conducted?
Yes, naperlou, I just actually wrote another story (not posted yet) on fabric that can be used to analyze someone's golf swing. Wasn't aware of the technology until just then...the company is called Danfoss. So it seems that literally, the game is changing!
There's a plus and minus to the trend toward more electronics in sports. Last night I watched an NBA game in which the last seven seconds of the game lasted about seven minutes, while referees watched video replays from three different angles to determine who touched the ball last. That's the downside. Hopefully, though, the upside is greater than the downside.
Yeah, see, that's what I think may happen as technology gets more advanced. And honestly, basketball games have always dragged on in the end when it's a close game and one team keeps fouling the other...now technology is making them even longer! I doubt this ball will ever get used in a game situation, though--that would be waaaaay too complicated, don't you think? :)
Chuck, Do you have any idea how big the market is for something like this? It certainly is anovel idea, and the design incorporates a technology solutions that isn't exactly trivial. Must be amarket for this; just wondering if it supports a substantial business. Thanks.
I don't know, Al. According to factmonster.com, there are 250 million people who play basketball in an organized fashion worldwide. InfoMotion is marketing the ball through Kickstarter in an effort to figure that out for themselves.
There's a market for this. Both professional and aspiring NBA/Olympic players and trainers would be very interested.
The Snow Boarding industry has used goggles that track performance for a while. The NASA Glenn Research Center was interested in the technology a couple of years ago for helmets but I'm not sure if that went anywhere.
I agree, Nadine. I also think there's a market -- possibly a very big one. There are hundreds of thousands of basketball players (maybe millions) who need help in putting more arc on their shots, releasing the ball more softly, and loading their shots more quickly. I'm no marketing guru, though, so I would urge everyone to ignore what I say on this matter.
Charles, My two sons would love to have a basketball, with this tech, to help them with their shooting and dribbling. The electronics technology of using DSPs instead of a microcontroller makes good sense because of the number crunching involve to provide accurate results of the basketball's dynamics. There's no limit to what electronics can be used in, just one's imagination. Great Article!
I, too, have a son who played basketball, mrdon, and I wish this technology had been available when he was still playing. At $300, this is no longer a product just for a high school, college or AAU team. It can now be purchased by any serious basketball player.
Charles, This product has so many sports applications it can be used in. I am curious about the electronics packaging of the sensors and DSP. Will the company have any tech specs on their website for the public to view?
Cabe, I forgot to mention the smart skateboard makes for a great Kickstarter project as well. That's one of the reason's I became an Electrical Engineer is because of the cool stuff you can make with electronics!
From my experience working in the Action Sports market, Skate is one of the few categories that still has a strong support network and mentor relationship. Kids learn from their parents or older skaters. On any day, you can see groups of boards working together to perfect tricks, giving feeback and sharing success. It's not unuual to find basketball players practicing alone to perfect their skills early on.
How could a Smart Skateboard change things for aspiring pro-skaters?
NadineJ, Just thinking out loud, a smart skateboard could provide data on proper balancing as well as kicking motion. I know Wii Fitness has an exercise that records your stance position related to balance. It then assists in correcting your poor balance stance with several exercises. Again, just brainstorming a concept for the smart skateboard.
Interesting start, mrdon. But, I wouldn't use Wii Fitnessf r support. It doesn't translate to the real world. One famous examlpe is that Venus Williams is a very poor tennis player when she plays Wii. And, we all know that's NOT true in real life!
It applies across the board. Mastering DJ Hero won't lead to a world tour. And, I've talked to many in the military who've adjusted their training strategy because new recruits claim to be good at Halo as a qualifier.
Back to the basketball...I don't see a larger non-pro interest in this. High schools and colleges make sense. I'm surprised that they haven't sold this to more pro-teams. That endorsement could help. But, this seems to be more suited for the Neiman Marcus Wish List. Interesting, kind of cool, but not useful for most people.
At the moment, Nadine, I think the Atlanta Hawks are the only pro basketball team using this technology. Even for pro teams, though, I think the previous cost (as much as $2,500) was probably a turn off. The $300 pricetag should give people a chance to see if the technology is worthwhile.
mrdon, I had an instructor in college that worked as an Apollo engineer--he said any engineering problem can be solved if you have two things: enough time and money. With electronics tecnologies like those used in this basketball, we are certainly lowering the time factor!
NadineJ, I agree. The market potential behind this technology platform is huge. Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry and what amateur or professional athlete would not want to have the ability to improve their atheletic performance based on the object they used in their sport.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.