Skip to main content

Batter up! Zepp unveils new baseball bat and other connected sports equipment

Zepp Golf Gloves
Zepp Labs made a splash in the wearable world with the Golf Swing analyzer, a Bluetooth-enabled dongle that records and analyzes your golf stroke. The company also sells sensors for tracking baseball and tennis swings, a companion app that recommends drills to improve, and tutorials made with the Major League and the PGA Tour. After selling hundreds of thousands of sensors and crossing the 500,000 active user mark in four years, Zepp’s now going beyond an app and dongles to collaborate with a logical group of partners: sports equipment makers.

Zepp is building more than a single product or even family of products, though. Instead, the company’s working to establish an industry standard for integrated athletic and sports equipment sensors that competitors, such as Diamond Kinetics and Blast Motion, are free to adopt and use.

“By working together we can not only develop amazing experiences for athletes and fans, but also grow all of our businesses,” said Zepp chairman Jason Fass in a statement. “Our goal is to help develop a unified ecosystem through a set of industry standards that paves the way for … the next generation of sports equipment.”

One fruit of its preliminary efforts is the Smart Bat, a baseball bat mounting blueprint for embedding motion trackers in a traditional wooden bat design. An improvement over Zepp’s current solution, which involves clipping or adhering a dongle to a bat, it calls for a retention sleeve that fits snugly into a hollowed-out knob at the bottom of the bat. At CES 2016, Zepp will show all kinds of equipment from tennis racquets to cricket bats with similar, open-architecture sensor designs.

Zepp Inside.86

The ultimate goal is to drive innovation through software, Fass said. “We started Zepp with the fundamental belief that it was only a matter of time before every field, stadium, piece of equipment and athlete were digitally connected in some way,” he said. “We have always believed that the future of sports will be steered by robust software, elegant user experiences and truly actionable data.”

The big question, of course, is whether Zepp can get the movers and shakers in the sports space to bite. The company said it’s working with “companies and organizational bodies across professional and amateur sports” to foster adoption of its proposals. Later this week, it’s pitching its so-called open smart bat to attendees at the American Baseball Coaches Association conference in Nashville, TN. Whether Zepp’s motion-tracking competitors, one of which filed suit against the company earlier this year, decide to jump on board is another matter.

That’s somewhat inconsequential, of course. Zepp will no doubt adopt the designs for its own range of future products, and the company’s own sensor and software tech is undoubtedly great. In our testing, its ARM-powered dongle accurately recorded thousands of data points per second and translated them to actionable, swing-improving tips.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Fitbit Sense
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatch, worn on a person's wrist.

The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung's take on a modern, hi-tech wearable that doesn't imitate an old-school analog wristwatch. It eschews the classic design of its predecessors for a sleeker, more streamlined look, while also providing some excellent hardware and features. These include a Super AMOLED touchscreen, 16GB of internal storage, generous battery life, and some great health-tracking software.

It's certainly one of the best smartwatches out there, but in a market saturated by Apple Watches and various Android equivalents, it certainly isn't without competitors. One of these is the Fitbit Sense, which in 2020 emerged to offer a premium version of the core Fitbit experience, replete with an ECG sensor, a choice of virtual assistants, and a wealth of fitness features.

Read more
This $4,000 titanium beauty is the ultimate square G-Shock
The G-Shock MRG-B5000B.

Do you want the very best Casio offers in manufacturing, design, and technology from your new G-Shock, all wrapped up in that highly recognizable square case? In other words, the ultimate version of a truly classic G-Shock watch? If so, the new MRG-B5000B is exactly the model you will want, provided cost is no object. We’ve been wearing it.
What makes MR-G so special?
Although Casio is best known for tough watches that won’t break the bank, Casio also has decades of watchmaking experience, and it showcases its talents most effectively in its highly exclusive MR-G family of watches. These models, its most luxurious, are assembled by hand on Casio’s Premium Production Line located in the Yamagata factory in Japan, where only the company’s most experienced, specially certified technicians work on the top MT-G and MR-G models.

The square G-Shock is one of the most popular models, having been around since the G-Shock brand first started in the early 1980s, and bringing it to the luxury MR-G range is going to see a lot of people reaching for their wallets. What makes it so special? It’s the first time the classic, beloved square G-Shock has been given the MR-G treatment, with most other MR-G models over the past few years featuring an analog dial. There's a huge section of an already large fan base waiting for this.

Read more
Fitbit recalls Ionic smartwatch after several burn reports
best walmart deals on apple watch garmin and fitbit ionic smartwatch adidas edition ice gray silver

Fitbit Ionic smartwatch users need to stop using their devices right now. The company has recalled its Ionic wearable after over 150 reports of the watch’s lithium-ion battery overheating, and 78 reports of burn injuries to the users. It will offer a refund of $299 to the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch users who return the device.

Fitbit has received at least 115 reports in the United States and over 50 reports internationally about the Ionic smartwatch's battery overheating. It is recalling the device as there are two reports of third-degree burns and four reports of second-degree burns out of the 78 total burn injuries report.

Read more