Consumer electronics retailers have been looking to different industries to generate incremental business opportunities during the economic doldrums but there may be a new one brewing on the horizon - electronic sporting goods.
French high performance tennis equipment manufacturer Babolat is bringing refinement of the physical game to the PC and tablet with a new electronic monitoring system developed in partnership with motion-detection software developer Movea.
The collaboration is using special Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) chips in the tennis racquet handle to transmit collected data points to a PC or smart device app to measure player racquet handling technique.
Slated for sales initially through sporting goods and tennis pro shops that carry Babolat equipment, the “Babolat Play & Connect” racquet is an outgrowth of technologies Movea has been developing for the sports, consumer electronics and health-care fields.
Movea also recently teamed with Nordic Semiconductor ASA to develop a motion-enabled 2.4GHz RF remote control reference design, called the nRFready Smart Remote for advanced browsing control of Internet-enabled and Web 2.0-enabled TVs and set-top boxes.
The Babolat Play & Connect racquet is billed as the first MEMS-equipped racquet with motion sensor and gesture recognition.
The racquet enables measurement and analysis of game play including stroke qualification, ball spin, ball position on string bed, power during play, service speed and other variables. Data is registered on a PC program or smart device app to help players improve their games by setting goals while following progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Game play data can be posted on preferred social networks for player encouragement or to challenge friends and seek tips and advice.
The “Babolat Play & Connect” tennis racquet was recently unveiled at the Roland-Garros French Open in Paris and is expected to be available in early 2013.