Zepp Labs outs 3D swing analysis systems for baseball, golf and tennis
By Mike Hanlon
November 13, 2013
Zepp Labs' training systems for Baseball, Golf and Tennis go on sale this week, offering sophisticated scientific analysis in three of the most commonly played and universally loved sports. A small bat/racket/glove-mounted unit containing a powerful ARM processor and multiple sensors, captures data at 1,000 data points per second on the athlete's swing, then transfers that data via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet for immediate analysis and feedback.
The rate of scientific advancement in most fields has accelerated to warp speed in recent years as cheap computing power has become available to analyze data and divine knowledge from it. Of the three main components required to analyze your swing – capturing data, analyzing it and then visualizing it in a useful manner – the main inhibiting factor of recent times has been the availability of sensors suitable for capturing the most relevant data.
At $150 a pop, the Zepp Labs' systems combine a small sensor, complex software and the analytical power of a potent computer (i.e your smartphone).
The main cost of each system is contained in the small, lightweight advanced sensing unit that contains an ARM processor, dual accelerometers and a 3-axis gyroscope, storage for the data and a battery. Once you have purchased the sensing unit, it can be applied it to another sport by downloading the relevant app to your mobile device, and purchasing the relevant mounting unit for your sport of choice from Zepp at a cost of US$10.
The sensing unit is small enough that it can be used without compromising the athlete’s swing. The Zepp unit is one inch square by half an inch deep and weighs just 6.3 g. Future versions will no doubt be smaller and more rugged and capture more relevant data to greater granularity, but this effort is a technological triumph in its own right.
The unit is comprised of a ruggedized rubber exterior and contains a shock-resistant core, and is designed to be capable of withstanding the countless impacts of bat/racket/club on ball that it is designed to eventually increase.
According to Zepp Labs, each sensor contains enough memory to store for up to 200,000 tennis swings or 2,000 baseball swings or 2,000 golf swings at 1,000 data points per second, while the battery contains enough juice for eight hours of continuous usage.
The sensor contained in each of the three sports packages being released this week is clearly V2.0, having been derived using knowledge gained from Zepp's first commercial sports sensor which was included in the company's initial (and still current) market offering known as GolfSense. Depending on the sport being analyzed, there are three different sport-specific mounts: one for the end of a baseball or softball bat and one for the end of a tennis racket, while for golf, the unit attaches to the back of a golf glove. The mounting points were obviously one of the most critical areas, as attaching something to your tool of choice in such finely-balanced endeavors can change the swing if you're not careful.
The captured data is then transferred to a user’s smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth wireless protocol and analysis begins via a sport-specific smartphone app.
This Youtube video shows Zepp Baseball in usage and the benefits it offers in analysis terms.
The Zepp sensor attaches to the handle of any baseball or softball bat so you can replay and review your swing in 3D from any angle on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. The system captures bat speed, the precise orientation of your bat at impact in three dimensions and where in the hitting zone you made contact with the ball.
You can also measure how long and how efficiently your bat stays in the hitting zone, compare and share your swing data with others and view detailed analysis and trend reports over time so you can track your progress.
Zepp Golf is the evolution of Zepp Labs’ first product, GolfSense, and this short Youtube video sums up its features.
Zepp Golf features the ability to replay and review your swing from any angle and compare the shape of your backswing to your downswing, measure your club speed, swing tempo (the ratio of time it takes to make your backswing vs.downswing), the angle of your club at the top of your backswing, and your hip rotation (this last data set is captured using the accelerometer inside your smartphone which needs to be worn on the hips during the swing).
You can also compare and share your swing data with others, and track your progress over time. Like the other Zepp systems, the sensor stores up to 2,000 swings or unlimited swings in the cloud. This particular app also offers a "SwingScore", an evaluation of the quality of each swing so you can easily measure how closely you are to achieving your personal goals.
Zepp Tennis features the ability to track the amount of forehands, backhands, serves and smashes you hit, how much power you generate with each stroke, how many topspin, slice and flat shots you hit, your trends for an entire match or practice session, the total amount of time you spend on court and the active time you spend playing points and rallying.
As with the other Zepp apps, you can compare and share your swing data with others.
Pricing and AvailabilityZepp Baseball, Zepp Golf and Zepp Tennis are now available in the United States via the Zepp website for US$150 each. All three products will hit Apple Stores across America starting November 19 and some Verizon Stores starting November 21.
Additional mounts for each sport will be available for purchase soon for US$10.
Source: Zepp Labs