A Melbourne, Australia, startup has designed a new wristband that tracks movements dealing with tennis. Smash will look to score more than a little love at a Kickstarter campaign later this month
Alright, how many different wristbands can there be to track your movement or give you insight into your daily activities? Apparently not enough, as an Australian startup is adding one more wristband into the already almost saturated market.
But this new one, called the Smash, has a very specific purpose: instead of tracking generic movement, it focuses on movements specifically relating to playing tennis.
The Smash wristband takes hundreds of measurements every second using an array of sensors, including an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer, that take measurements across three axises, according to Smash Wearables’ founder Rob Crowder. The wristband then delivers feedback to a smartphone app via bluetooth that tracks the number and type of shots the user hits, the amount of power and spin put on the ball, and how consistent someone’s stroke is. The app can then give recommendations based on the data that will help the wearer improve his or her game.
A wrist coach
The device is not yet available, but Smash Wearables is planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign on May 24 seeking $200,000 in order to produce the wristband, Crowder said.
Tennis-obsessed Crowder first started working on his idea for the wearable in early 2013 and formally founded his company in December. He has since been joined by Martin Andrews, who deals with the software and the app, and Aaron Maher, who focuses on manufacturing and operations.
While playing tennis three times a week, Crowder kept trying to remember two or three things that would help him improve. At the same time, he starting playing around with other wristbands such as the Nike Fuelband and the Jawbone Up.
“It left me thinking there has to be a way to focus the technology at understanding something specific, and make the insight useful to someone who wants to improve,” Crowder said. “So I got to work.”
So far, Smash has conducted research and testing with coaches in Melbourne, including with one that used to be on the Czech national team and another who is a senior coach at Tennis Australia. Crowder said both coaches like the device, which can help students focus on different movements to improve when coaches aren’t around. The data can also supplement coaching sessions so players can hone in on how to improve.
So far development has been funded by a grant from the Victorian state government in Australia, which gives out technology development vouchers to companies developing new technologies.
It seems like a very specific use for a wristband, but maybe there are enough tennis players that will want this instead of everything else that’s on the market today. The product may have been able to get more traction had it created other software and apps that would let wearers use the Smash to improve in other sports as well.