Swish! Internet of Things Arrives on the Basketball Court (and in the Physics Lab)

Lots of kids play basketball, but end up quitting if they don’t have access to real coaching. In the US alone, over 20 million children registered for sports. By age 13, 70% of those kids stopped playing.

Enter the 94Fifty® Smart Sensor Basketball, created by InfoMotion Sports Technologies. Although it looks like a regular basketball, it’s much more. The smart basketball, which basically acts as a “digital basketball coach”, comes with nine sensors and a mobile app. The basketball sends data to an iPhone or iPod via Bluetooth, which gives kids real-time feedback on their shooting arc, backspin, acceleration, dribble intensity, hand speed, and consistency.  The app allows players to progress through increasingly difficult workout levels, and they can even compete with other players around the world via Twitter.  

Smart basketball - internet of things

Inside the basketball is a TMS320C5515 ultra-low-power fixed-point DSP from Texas Instruments. The system collects raw data from the inertial sensors and processes the data for key performance metrics, while maintaining an active feedback stream with a player’s mobile device via Bluetooth.

The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball was honored in three categories at the 2014 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards, and was also named one of the “Top 25 Inventions of the Year” from Time Magazine.

MapR and Cisco Donate 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball to Chicago School

At a recent Big Data Everywhere conference in Chicago, MapR and Cisco gave a 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball to one lucky attendee, and also donated one to the Lycee Français de Chicago, a private bilingual French/English coeducational day school in Chicago. The school has taken the initiative to not only use the smart basketball during practice, but also to coordinate with their physics teacher and create an educational link between basketball and physics. The Athletic Director at the school remarked, “We received it and we already started to work with it! Amazing! We are going to work with the physics teacher to create a link between basketball and physics. It is incredible what we can do with this tool!”

The Internet of Things is clearly fueling educational innovation, from the physics lab to the basketball court. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential of IoT in the educational space.

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