Getting into the swing of things with Sony's tennis sensor

LAS VEGAS—International CES featured a bevy of wearable monitors you strap on to different parts of your body to record all manner of data about your athletic performance. Sony thinks your tennis racket shouldn’t be left out of the mix.

sony tennis sensor Photo: Philip Michaels

That red bump on the bottom of those tennis rackets is Sony’s tennis sensor. It weighs 9 grams and captures data about your swing.

Which is why in its massive CES 2014 booth, Sony demoed a fitness tracking prototype that attaches to the base of your racket, replacing the pop-off cap at the bottom. At 9 grams, the sensor doesn’t add much weight, but it can measure motion and velocity. That allows it to collect all sorts of data—the swing of your speed and the ball, the spin you’ve put on the ball, your type of swing (forehand, backhand, and the like), and the impact position of the ball on the racket—that you can use to improve your game. That data displays in an app running on a mobile device that connects to the racket sensor over Bluetooth. And while Sony’s CES display showcased the app running in Android on one of its Xperia devices, a company representative told me the app could easily be developed for iOS as well.

When such a thing might be developed—whether for Android or iOS—isn’t clear. Sony stressed that its tennis sensor is merely a prototype: there’s no release date or price set. But as a proof of concept, what Sony showed off in Las Vegas should excite even casual tennis players hoping to unleash their inner Federer.

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