Mainstream sports have generally been resistant to implementing new technology. There are a few small exceptions, like sports bras that monitor heart rate, LED multi-purpose sports courts, and solar soccer balls. But now, a major sporting goods manufacturer, Wilson, has announced a sensor-infused smart basketball that pairs with an app to help players improve their performance.
This new basketball comes with a variety of sensors that can monitor location and movement. All of the sensors are inside the ball, meaning that the ball plays just the same as a normal one. These sensors sync to a smartphone app that will give players information on how well they’re shooting, which positions on the court are their best and worst, dribbling time, and how long it takes to release a shot. The ball even tracks which types of shots you consistently make or miss. The idea is to give players an accurate way to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are on the court, and all you have to do is turn on the app before shooting some hoops and the sensors report back with detailed information.
Wilson has partnered with SportIQ in Finland, a company that specializes in artificial intelligence, to make this new basketball. According to the company, the ball is currently focused on the consumer market, but Wilson hopes to expand this technology to professional and college sports competitions. They’re also working on similar technology for other sports, so it’s probably only a matter of time before we see smart baseballs and smart hockey pucks, too.
Wilson’s new smart ball is available by the end of the year, just in time for the holidays.