March Madness (a.k.a. college basketball championship tournament season) has ended and fans whose bracket predictions included Duke University in the final four teams are reveling. For fans of the sport nothing is more exciting than a good basketball game and the thrill from the swish of the net on a three point shot.
As the parent of a teenage son immersed in basketball, gift shopping tends to revolve around the latest trends in basketball apparel, footwear and training aids to support his self-disciplined two-hour day training regimen and year round play. During the course of my “due diligence” to find the perfect Christmas gift, I received a pop-up ad for the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball (named by TIME Magazine as one of its Top 25 Best Inventions of 2014.)
The 94Fifty basketball is undeniably cool by any stretch of the imagination.
This IoT-enabled basketball looks and performs like a standard basketball while unobtrusively gathering information about shooting arc, dribble intensity and speed, shot release speed, and shot backspin during both indoor and outdoor usage. Players can also compete head to head with any player based on their skills, and compete with anyone in the world via Twitter.
How does it work?
The system consists of three components: the 94Fifty Basketball App, the Smart Basketball and the optional SmartNet. A library of reference videos, training drills and blog posts are available on the product website.
The user charges the ball with the included charging pad, downloads the associated IOS and Android app, compatible with most “smart” devices, and syncs it with the ball. As the user plays with the ball, it gathers and analyzes the data and provides actionable feedback to the player to help improve their fundamental basketball skills.
The 94Fifty SmartNet accessory allows users to track number and accuracy of shots in skills training.
Arguably one of the best NBA players under the backboards, Shaquille O’Neal was notorious for missing shots from the free throw line. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Ray Allen holds the NBA record for 3-point shot accuracy. Imagine how each could have benefitted from training using a smart, connected basketball and net! Players at all skill levels, ages and classes—street, amateur, professional—can tap into real-time performance data and analysis to improve their skills.
IoT technology on the basketball court will never replace the God-given talents of a Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Kevin Durant or other basketball superstar, but it will do what technology does best – provide a toolset to increase our knowledge and expand our horizons to help us achieve our own personal levels of greatness.
What’s next? It’s got to be shoes.
Pivot point, jump height and angle, accuracy flat footed versus jump shots, stutter step analysis, fakes and pick and roll – game on!
What other cool products have turned on the switch to help you understand the IoT?
Image credit: InfoMotion Sports Technologies, Inc.