Pigskin has come a long way since being made of, well, pig … bladders (sorry football fans, your favorite oblong ball was never actually made from swine hide). But origins aside, the 21st century has done a major number on sporting equipment, and now, just in time for the Super Bowl, Wilson has unveiled its new smart football. Because yes, even your football needs to be smart now.
Called the Wilson X, this football looks like any other upon first blush, but upon closer inspection, it’s way more complex than our forefathers could’ve ever imagined. The interior of the Wilson X boasts a motion sensor that can track the spin, velocity, distance, and wobble of the ball. So for all you Peyton Mannings and Cam Newtons in training, this guy is for you.
As everyone gears up for the face-off between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, to take place Sunday in the American capital of technology, Wilson executives made an early trip out to Silicon Valley to show off the company’s new invention. They demonstrated that not only does the ball track all this crucial information about its trajectory, it’ll also send it to your smartphone (with a connected app), and Wilson says that these sort of capabilities are just the beginning when it comes to the future of the company’s products.
“That’s where we’re going with connected products and this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Bob Thurman, vice president of innovation for Wilson. “We hope at some point it’s just going to be part of every ball that we make.” Similar technology has already been introduced in smart basketballs, and now that footballs have been tackled, maybe we can look forward to smart tennis balls next.
At demonstrations, Wilson explained that the Wilson X makes use of low-power Bluetooth to stay “smart” and connected, and while you can’t recharge the football, the battery should be good for two years. Current app features include a quarterback rating that is based on the tightness of the ball’s spiral, the velocity at which it was thrown, and the distance it traveled.
And to truly make the Wilson X a communal experience, the smart football lets you compete with other smart football owners. You can compare your own quarterback scores with those of your friends across the country, or even use the app to create a sort of virtual game with other players. There’s no price set yet for the smart football, but for reference, the smart basketball will set you back $200.
The future of football may be murky, but the future of the ball itself seems super bright.