In the sporting world, computers are used to analyze everything from a golf swing to how fast a tennis ball was served. Tech is being used in the World Cup to determine if a ball actually went past the goal line. Now, Adidas has created a high-tech soccer ball that’s able to measure impact and trajectory, delivering information that could help improve a player’s technique.
Called the “world’s first intelligent and app-enabled soccer ball,” the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball uses a “six-axis MEMS accelerometer sensor package” to measure how ball impact, ball spin, impact points, and even visual flight trajectories. The sensor package is suspended in the middle of the ball, which continuously measures the ball’s movement and impact, and sends the data over to a smartphone or tablet in real-time. The ball connects to the Adidas-developed miCoach Smart Ball iOS app via a Bluetooth Smart chip (also known as Bluetooth low energy) made by Nordic Semiconductors.
Before, coaches and athletes could only analyze using their eyes. With the data, a coach can now scientifially train his/her players on how to change their kicking techniques; even for non-professional athletes, the could study their results afterward, to see what they could fix to improve their game. The app even includes tutorials to aide coaches and players on how to better their skills.
To create a ball that meets sporting regulations, Adidas “had to develop our own proprietary wireless induction charging solution to eliminate the need for any kind of external charging socket on the ball,” said Ian Munson, senior electromechanical engineer with the Adidas Innovation Team that created the Smart Ball. “This is used to charge a 160mAhr lithium-ion polymer battery embedded within the ball that powers all of the on-board MEMS, data logging, and Bluetooth Smart wireless electronics.” The ball can be kicked 2,000 times per week before it needs a recharge.
The ball is now available through adidas.com or Apple’s online and retail stores. The ball retails for $300.
This isn’t the first time Adidas has implemented technology into a soccer ball. It outfitted one of the 2014 World Cup balls with six cameras that can record 360-degree panoramas.