Hawk-Eye for the Cost of a Racket? Plus Analysis? Wow

Play sight, at 10K per court is no cheap alternativeIf you watch tennis often enough, you’re well aware of the Hawk-Eye technology used in professional tournaments these days. It tends to take the controversy out of matches and brings the crowd into the game through “ohs” and “ahs” as the result appears on the big screen at a professional match. Trouble is, at 60K per court, it’s nothing but professional gadgetry.

Then there’s the Playsight system, which can be set up for a meagre 10K per court. Throw in some courtside analytics and comments from Paul Annacone, and maybe a few top clubs around the world would be interested.

Now, for the cost of a racket, it would appear that French inventor, Gregoire Gentil (he lives in California), has come up with the first affordable version of line calling technology.

How Does In/Out Work?

The In/Out net mounted line callerFor a quick look, check out the Bloomberg video below, released late this week

At the outset, GT must divulge that we haven’t tested the product, although we’ll be trying our hardest! It looks simple enough. Two cameras are mounted on the device, one for each end of the court. There’s a screen on top of the unit if you wish to replay a point, or at least see where the ball landed. The unit is mounted via a strap on the top of the net post.

The unit beeps when a ball is out and also has red and green flashing lights to illustrate whether the ball was in or out. Hence the unit’s name we’re guessing.

There’s also an app to assist users with match or practice session analysis. This is where this coach gets really excited.

In/Out Accuracy

It’s been well documented that Hawk-Eye gets line calls right to within 3mm. For 60k, some would argue it should be less than 3mm.

So what does 200 bucks buy you in terms of accuracy? Accuracy to within 20mm, or around 3/4 of an inch. That sounds really impressive. Hawk-Eye is 300 times the price and the In/Out is 7 times less accurate.

The only problem is that 20mm probably isn’t good enough to rely on it as your only method of calling lines during a match. We also wonder whether the mounting position (on the net post) is going to make it difficult to make a call on video replay either. We doubt the In/Out will replace umpires or self-umpired matches without a little more accuracy.

But that’s not the exciting part.

Coaching and Player Analytics

Ever since the evolution of tennis racket sensors, we’ve been troubled by one major drawback of all the tennis sensors available on the market today. It’s all very well, as a player or a coach, to say your topspin was this and your slice was that. Or the ball speed was this and the racket speed was that.

The most important thing is missed. Was the ball in or out?!

Additionally, where did it actually land? All very well to hit the ball in the court but if more than half your backhands are landing inside the service line, close to the center line, you’re going to have a problem.

We’re Excited

There was a rumour around last year that a certain racket manufacturer was going to solve the problem with a fence mounted camera, but nothing came of it.

If Mr Gentil has been able to bridge the gap between racket sensor analytics and actual ball position, our hats off to him……in a big way. There’s massive potential for a product like this in coaching and individual player analytics. And for 200USD the In/Out will (and should) top Christmas lists over other racket sensors.

There’s also the possibility to use the In/Out in conjunction with a racket sensor. Now there’s some analytics worth having.

The In/Out should be available during the upcoming Northern Hemisphere Summer. We hope to test one before then.

5 Replies to "Hawk-Eye for the Cost of a Racket? Plus Analysis? Wow"

  • Arnaud
    March 28, 2017 (1:04 pm)
    Reply

    Hi,
    First thanks for your webiste, I discovered it recently although I follow the subject of techno related to tennis for almost 2 years. Very clear and the acuracy test is exactly what I was looking for. I bought the qlipp sensor more than a year ago but I used it very little because acuracy is very poor and then for me i’ts unsable. I bouht recently the zepp sensor, but not very acurate for me too and it fall of my racquet. I was very excited about Qlipp but I’m very disapointed. I’m very excited, even more, about in/out because of it’s far more important features, but when I read that it will come first with software in beta version, I’m afraid of being disappointed too.
    Do you think there is a chance for you to get the in/out for test ? Any other news ?
    Thanks

  • Nick
    Nick
    March 29, 2017 (12:55 am)
    Reply

    Hi Arnaud, We are extremely hopeful of testing the In/Out prior to its commercial release, which is scheduled for later this year. We will be on court in the next two weeks testing the likes of Qlipp and Sony again to see what their latest updates are about, and to see if there’s any improvement in the accuracy of the Qlipp sensor.

    Thanks for your comment. We’ll let you know when we’ll be able to test.

    Nick

  • Arnaud
    March 30, 2017 (9:05 am)
    Reply

    Hi Nick,
    Thanks for your answer. Indeed I noticed that a new version of Qlipp software was released 4 days ago with improved stroke detection accuracy. I will check it here. Thanks a lot for keeping your tests up-to-date.
    Arnaud

  • Art
    October 13, 2017 (6:38 pm)
    Reply

    It’s Oct 13 when will the sensor be shipped ?

    • Nick
      Nick
      October 13, 2017 (7:47 pm)
      Reply

      Hi Art, like many crowd funded projects there have been some delays. Latest from California is shipping is in the next couple of weeks. In/Out’s Twitter feed is the best place to check https://twitter.com/inout_tennis

      Will be straight on court for testing when received. Please let us know how you go.

      Nick


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