The white sport seems to have caught the attention of tech companies this year, as more and more of them start producing smart devices for tennis players.
Initially presented as a prototype at CES 2014, Sony’s smart tennis sensor is now ready to enter mass production, as the Japanese tech company announced both the price and the availability of this device.
As seen above, the Smart Tennis Sensor made by Sony needs to be fixed at the bottom of the tennis racket’s handle. Bear in mind that at the moment, only six Yonex EZone and VCore rackets are compatible with the sensor. The fact that Sony chose Yonex, another Japanese company, as a collaborator for this project shouldn’t surprise anyone, though. Since it weighs only 8 grams and measures 17.6mm in height and 31.3mm in diameter, its presence won’t be felt not even by professional tennis players.
As seen above, the Smart Tennis Sensor connects wirelessly to a smartphone app to reveal such details as the area of the racket that hit the ball, the speed of the ball and other juicy details. One of the best things about this app is that it is also capable of recording the tennis match for future analysis. This way, people are able to watch the game at a later time, along with the metrics recorded by the sensor. The quantified self seems to be one of the hot topics of the year, as wearable tech also focuses on this aspect.
Unlike Babolat Play, another smart device aimed at tennis players that was unveiled at CES 2014, Sony’s smart tennis sensor costs only $175. The difference to $399 is probably justified by the fact that Babolat Play is in fact a smart tennis racket, while Sony’s product only gets attached to select rackets. Still, I think that the results generated by the companion apps of both products are similar enough to make one another redundant.
Sony announced that the Smart Tennis Sensor will be launched in May in Japan, but there has been no word on when the device will hit other markets. Even though only the companion app for Android is displayed above, the Japanese tech company will undoubtedly also develop a compatible app for iOS. Whether this sensor will also appeal to professional tennis players, and not only amateurs, remains to be seen.