Following the launch of the miCoach Smart Ball, adidas has described the move to build an electronic football as “an obvious choice”.
With the company having previously added performance-tracking sensor packages to running shoes, football boots and watches, the sportswear giant has claimed that making a ‘smart’, connected football made perfect sense for both the business and consumers.
A device that has been years in the making, the adidas miCoach Smart Ball has come a long way since the idea was first floated at the company’s Herzo headquarters in Germany.
“Looking at the ball and thinking what we could do as an opportunity, we put some sensors in a ball about four and a half years ago,” DiBenedetto told us. “We stuck them right on the side of the ball and just started kicking it around to try to understand what would be possible.”
He added: “In there we quickly knew that we could do speed and we could do spin, but we wanted to do more than that and we wanted to be able to give a system that helped kids become better kickers.”
Detailing the potential of the smartphone-syncing Smart Ball, the adidas innovation head stated: “This ball is the first ball ever to be able to tell you anything about your kick, especially features like impact point – so where the foot hits the ball – which is critical to doing the right type of kick.
“When the ball is spinning through the air we can accurately measure spin and we can accurately the forces and aerodynamics that are happening on the ball while it is flying.”
Looking to what’s next, DiBenedetto added: “In the future, with an app update and a firmware update for the ball – which happens through the app – you will be able to kick rolling balls and the whole experience will continue to grow as we evolve it.”
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