The Wilson X smart basketball came first, launched last fall. Like the basketball, the smart football has internal accelerometers as well as a Bluetooth wireless transmitter. The accelerometers work in conjunction to mimic a gyroscope. You don’t need to be cautious with the Wilson X just because there are electronics onboard.
“The sensor is in the very middle of the ball, suspended four ways, kind of like a spider web,” said Wilson Labs vice president Bob Thurman. “You can kick it, you can punt it, you can punch the hell out of it, and the sensor won’t budge.”
The sensors are powered by an internal watch-style battery rated to last for 200,000 passes. When you start the associated smartphone app — iOS only, for now, Android is on the way — you’re prompted to turn on the football, which you do by holding it vertically for two seconds, flipping it, and holding for two more seconds.
When you throw the Wilson X with the sensors activated, it measures the speed of the throw, the speed of the ball’s spin, and what’s called the “nutation angle” — the spiral tightness. When that data is sent to the smartphone, you get immediate feedback on your throw’s speed, distance, RPMs, and efficiency. There are also games you can play on the app including blitzes, leaderboards, and plays suitable for backyard Thanksgiving games. The ball comes with an iPhone wrist holder so you can hear timer countdowns and play-by-play narrations.
The Wilson X Connected Football comes in official NFL and youth sizes, each for $200. If you pre-order to receive the ball as soon as possible, you’ll have plenty of time to practice before Turkey Day so when friends and family turn out for your Home Bowl, you’ll be passing at your peak.