Pivot – Are We Taking Tennis Sensors to a New Level?
Tennis gadgets and sensors are a relatively new addition to the sport. Several organizations are attempting to enter to compete with the likes of Sony, Qlipp, Zepp and Bab Pop/Play. Pivot is the latest, although it’s in a different league to the others, both in application and price.
Pivot has been in the research and development phase for a while now. It appears to be close to release.
Pivot – What Is It?
Pivot has been developed by Californian group TuringSense. The idea is to have a whole stack of sensors on a player’s body. The sensors monitor your movements for live analysis or after-the-fact through cloud storage of each session.
Nick Bolletieri has added his considerable clout to the product, in the form of his “coaching system”. A player’s session can be compared to Bolletieri’s coaching system for better analysis and improvement. We’d love to know why he used the 20+ year old racket for the promo video (below), and why TuringSense’s promo image contains an image with a similarly aged racket. Come on guys, you’re selling the latest technology. Use a racket that backs it up!
It sounds pretty good and looks pretty good. But all those sensors come at a price. The group is offering a Challenger Special – dominant arm sensors only – for 299USD (normally 399USD). The full kit with sensors everywhere (14 of them in fact), known as the Grand Slam pack will sell for 799USD as an initial promo, and 1,119USD retail.
In addition, there’s a 10USD per month subscription fee allowing users to store and view historical data in the cloud.
TuringSense has raised over 200k via crowd funding, impressively well over target. The latest update has the Challenger Special pack shipping in September, 2016. The Grand Slam pack has been delayed until early 2017.
It’s expensive stuff as sensors go. If you don’t want to shell out for the full pack, you can try the arm sensors first and upgrade later, although the initial cost plus upgrade will cost more than buying the Grand Slam pack to start.
Our Take on Pivot
It’s an incredibly interesting project with applications across many different sports. This thing won’t be limited to tennis.
There’s not only a game improvement angle for Pivot either. There’s also the injury prevention (and possibly rehabilitation) angle. Tennis comes at a price on the body for professional and aspiring professional players. Shoulders, knees, feet etc all have a load to bear. Being able to minimise the chance of injury with this sort of analysis can only be a good thing.
But therein lies the rub. Will the average recreational player be interested in spending this sort of money on analyzing every aspect of their body movement while on-court? For some, maybe. For most, probably not.
That being the case, the Pivot would appear to be a high end product with applications for professional players and elite juniors, rather than a direct competitor of current racket sensors.
One would suggest Pivot will use tennis as a launching pad into other sports. It has a place in a small segment of tennis, as it will in many other sports.