Everyday street basketball players (and would-be pros) don't have many tools to quantify their progress. InfoMotion Sports thinks they're owed more than just a pat on the back, so it's bringing its 94Fifty smart basketball to everyday hoop fans. Like the existing model for teams, sensors inside the amateur basketball detect the forces involved in a dribble or shot, relaying details such as the throw angle or power through Bluetooth; Android and iOS apps will be available out of the gate. The stats are for more than just bragging rights, too. InfoMotion's custom software centers on training sessions and competitions, including challenges from seasoned veterans. No matter how hard they play, owners will just have to rest the ball on a Qi wireless charging pad at the end of a session. InfoMotion Sports' $295 asking price will be steep when the 94Fifty arrives in the summer -- but it may be one of the better options for amateurs who want to improve the finer points of their game without donning a uniform.
InfoMotion Sports Unveils First Consumer-Ready Sensor Basketball
* Measures muscle memory skills that rapidly improve player performance
* Launch of Kickstarter campaign to support broad-market offering
* Demonstration at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, March 1-2 in Boston
Dublin, OH. (February 27, 2013) InfoMotion Sports Technologies (www.infomotionsports.com) today unveiled its 94Fifty sensor basketball, the first and most advanced digital sport product that measures basketball skills in real time. The new 94Fifty basketball uses the most advanced sensor suite available in digital sports to break down all aspects of a user's game, from ball-handling and shooting to athleticism. The information is delivered through Bluetooth® technology using a robust mobile app that allows users to interact with their own real-world skills or with others in a digital format-resulting in elite level training and an immersive fan experience.
The new basketball is being offered through an initial KickStarter campaign. Additionally, InfoMotion will be demonstrating the basketball's capabilities during the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference March 1-2 in Boston as a sponsor of the Interactive Technology room at the conference.
The ball utilizes the company's proprietary Point of Force measurement technologies. These technologies, include sensors and sophisticated counting algorithms that instantly measure over 6,000 pieces of data per second, analyze the forces imparted by the player into the ball in practice or game situations to derive consistent snapshots showing how the player shoots, handles or moves with the ball.
The consumer version of the 94Fifty sensor basketball line will include a robust downloadable app available on iOS and Android devices. The app provides customized workouts that advance the players through skill levels as well as the ability to measure shot arc, shot speed, backspin, dribble intensity, and many other skills that lead to better play on the court. The player experience also includes competing head to head with any player on any skill metric as well as competing with players anywhere in the world. The 94Fifty basketball leverages technology from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) in its sensor array including Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy dual-mode connectivity, a digital signal processor (DSP) to perform the complex analytics, and Qi-compliant wireless power technology to enable the balls to be recharged without plugs or wires.
"One of the advantages of the point-of-force approach is that we measure muscle memory, which develops early and responds rapidly to practice. This allows consumers to engage and remain engaged with their own development because the results can be improved quickly with practice. A skill-based approach also gives us an almost unlimited number of ways for players to compete and engage with others," said Mike Crowley, CEO of InfoMotion Sports Technologies. "The technological innovations necessary to bring this basketball to market were substantial and involved a wide range of technologies and engineering. In the end, the information the ball provides to consumers was designed by basketball experts to enable rapid skill development. We worked closely with TI to push the limits of available technologies to deliver a truly unique and game-changing product."
"InfoMotion's innovation to deliver a basketball with these capabilities is impressive," said Tim Adcock, sports innovation specialist from TI. "They use the full capabilities of our Bluetooth wireless connectivity, wireless power battery recharging and DSP analytics in unique ways to deliver an awesome product for everyday use by basketball players at all skill levels."
InfoMotion's first products launched in 2011 and were designed for teams and organizations. 94Fifty products are the first digital sports products to embed inertial motions sensors inside the ball to allow players to instantly analyze muscle memory skill. Its initial team products are used by teams at all levels and used by customers in over 10 countries.
The product will initially be available via online sales only with estimated ship dates in the 3rd quarter of 2013. It will retail for US$295. "Our research has shown a huge need in the market for a product with these capabilities, and compared to other ways that players spend to improve, this is a great value because it provides elite level training, diagnostics, and competition at an affordable price," added Crowley.