Sony's theme for its CES press event was "Play" and part of the fun was a smart tennis sensor that adds vibrational and gyro detection to your racket, linking up with your smartphone through Bluetooth to offer up improvement suggestions and surprisingly deep information on your racket game. While we got in a few serves and forehands right after the event, the announcement, like its incoming Core life-logging / wearable sensor, was a broad one. A spokesperson told us back in Vegas that Sony hadn't yet decided on a concrete name, let alone a price or release date. Well, Sony had plenty of answers at today's press event, announcing at a tennis club near its Shinagawa HQ that the sensor will launch (in Japan only, for now) this May, priced at 18,000 yen (around $175).
We'll admit, we had some suspicions that Sony's Smart Tennis Sensor might never arrive in the real world (the demonstration area wasn't that far away from a row of conceptual smart glasses), but it seems that Sony's taking this new possible market pretty seriously. The sensor will launch compatible with around six Yonex EZone and VCore tennis rackets, with more models promised after launch. At the moment, you'll need a dedicated sensor for each player: if your buddy uses your racket, their data will be folded into yours, but the team added that this is something that they'll be working on in the future.
Sony has also readied a companion app on both iOS and Android to launch alongside the sensor hardware when it arrives in late May. The app, alongside displaying stats and heat maps of where the ball hits the racket, will also be able to record a video of your earth-shattering serve and replay it alongside the metrics captured by the sensor. Maybe that ace wasn't quite so earth-shattering. We've added Engadget editor Michael Gorman's attempts right after the break.
Sony Smart Tennis Sensor appSee all photos