The Sony tennis sensor is a small Bluetooth tracking device that fits onto the bottom of any racquet and can help you improve your game whether you are an amateur or take the game a little more seriously.
It's still at the prototype stage, but Sony says it is actively looking to make the technology available in 2014 joining the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball and the 94Fifty Smart sensor basketball as the two industries continue to draw much closer together. Sony is not ruling out the possibility of applying the same technology to other sports and that’s where the real potential in the tennis sensor surely lies.
The sensor itself resembles the end of a shuttlecock with the red rubbery pod adding very little in the way of additional weight to the racquet. There’s two buttons embedded into the surface to turn the sensor on/off and sync over Bluetooth. It can be used with compatible Android smartphones, tablets and Sony Bravia TVs to review data. Crucially, when it’s put into action, the sensor doesn’t obstruct your swing leaving you free to perfect that forehand.
To track the movement, the sensor uses gyroscope and vibration technology to collect the data so when you strike the ball you’ll be able to see what part of the racquet you have hit the ball with as well as record information regarding the speed of the swing, ball speed, how many balls you’ve hit and even see data on previous shots.
All of this information is relayed back to the accompanying app over Bluetooth LE giving you a stack of data presented in a clean and concise user interface to help analyse the performance and see how well you’d done in your session.
Putting it to the test, the sensor is barely noticeable on the racquet and the comprehensive amount of information it is capable of collecting really impresses. What is most exciting is the prospect of using it in other bat, racquet or club-based sports like cricket and golf to generate the same kind of data to help users improve their game. High speed cameras are usually are more expensive method to analyse swing or technique so the sensor could be a more affordable way to do exactly the same job and deliver even more data.
Sony has been letting semi-professional tennis players put the technology to the test and it probably needs a Murray or a Nadal to take interest in it to make it a reality. If we don’t see it out on a tennis court, we hope the sensor tech makes it out on the putting green or the cricket wicket instead.