The Roomba of the tennis court? Ball-retreiving Tennibot launches on Kickstarter

One of the more tedious parts of playing tennis, or just practicing your swing, is having to retrieve all of the tennis balls you have knocked around the court. But a new Kickstarter project is looking to make this time-consuming task a thing of the past by introducing a robot that can automatically pick up all of those balls for you, making post-match cleanup quick, easy, and convenient.

The Tennibot launched on Kickstarter recently and comes packed with some interesting technology that could make it a must-have for any tennis club. According to Haitham Eletrabi, developer of the device, “Tennibot is the only robotic or autonomous solution that can pick up balls while you are playing. Tennibot perfectly integrates computer vision and artificial intelligence to save tennis players, coaches, and tennis clubs from wasted time and effort.”

This Roomba for the tennis court reportedly uses high-tech sensors, object detection, and artificial intelligence to identify tennis balls and quickly sweep them up. It is designed to move around both hard and clay courts at speeds of 1.4 miles per hour and can hold up to 80 balls at a time. An on-board battery offers up to five hours of operation on a single charge and requires 90 minutes to recharge before it is ready to go again.

An app is in development for the Tennibot that will allow players to set boundaries for where the robot will operate during a practice session or game. The app provides an outline of the court and users simply select the zones where they want the robot to concentrate. Once activated, it will go about its work completely on its own, although the app – which will be available for iOS, Android, and AppleWatch – gives users the ability to manually steer the Tennibot, too.

According to Eletrabi, the Tennibot can be used in a variety of situations, including a single player hitting balls from a machine or one or two players practicing their serves, forehands ,and backhands. It will even autonomously wander around the court picking up stray balls while coaches provide one-on-one lessons or instruct a group of players.

Eletrabi is looking to raise $35,000 to get the Tennibot into production. If successful, the device will go into production later this year, and is scheduled to begin shipping in January 2019. It is expected to sell for $1,000 when it becomes available, although early bird supporters can get one for as little as $650 by contributing to the campaign.

As always, be careful when contributing to any crowdfunding project and know the risks involved before pledging your money.

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