Smart Dampener by Courtmatics – The Latest String Bed Sensor
From something that’s a little in left field like Pivot, we move to the more traditional tennis sensor. This time it’s Smart Dampener by a group known as Courtmatics. Not that the tennis sensor industry has much tradition (yet) but the Smart Dampener obtains all its data from the racket rather than from other parts of the body. This one’s in direct competition with Qlipp et al.
Smart Dampener – What Is It?
It’s aptly named as it sits in the string bed. But, unlike Qlipp, it would appear Smart Dampener sits in the strings in a more traditional way than Qlipp. While Qlipp sits one way or the other, Smart Dampener’s silicon casing sits either side of the string bed, much like your normal vibration dampener.
It weighs in at a more comfortable 0.2oz (5.6 odd grams), so should have less effect on racket performance than the heavier Qlipp.
There’s not a lot of detail to the analytics at this stage but from what we can gather, Smart Dampener will provide players with shot identification, spin (including the dreaded “flat” measurement). Power and sweetspot are also there.
So far, it sounds like all the others, right? Courtmatics also suggests that the Smart Dampener will measure a player’s steps and distance covered. It will also “track how well you move on the court and set up for your shots”. Gee, I hope they’re talking through a video function. If not they’re out in left field on this one. Presumably, they’re referring to “sweetspot” analysis, but this is where we entered the realm of “say what?”. A sensor in the string bed with footwork analysis sounds a little far-fetched.
But wait, there’s more. It comes in different colors! Just in case it matters!
Smart Dampener Pricing
There’s nothing on the Courtmatics website yet. It’s been suggested in other preliminary reviews that it will sell for 79USD. Compared to everything else on the market, that would appear to be a bargain.
Courtmatics is trying to fund the release and distribution of the device through Highway 1, a group that takes start-ups with a prototype through to the final phase of release. They’re expecting to sell Smart Dampener from November, 2016.
Our Take on Smart Dampener
Smart Dampener is certainly on the radar as potential competition for Qlipp as well as the wider tennis sensor market. If you’ve read other articles on this site, you’ll know we’re fans of Qlipp as a concept, but have a big problem with the inaccuracies and some of the delivery aspects of the app.
If Courtmatics have developed something similar, yet lighter and easier to get on and off the racket, we’re all for it. There are a couple of decent sized red flags that make us a little wary. Firstly, the ability to measure footwork is a little, shall we say, out there. Even measuring a player’s steps would be difficult given the variety of footwork involved in tennis, and the vastly different stride lengths depending on what a player’s doing. How will a string bed dampener measure all of that accurately?
Secondly is, believe it or not, the price. 79USD sits well below the average price of the four most popular racket sensors available today. It sounds far too good to be true and we hope it’s not going to suffer from a cheap and nasty tag. More to the point, we’re hoping it’s not cheap and nasty!
It’s another great concept but the devil will be in the detail. Data accuracy will be the major issue, and the footwork measurements a point of interest. We wait for the November release of Smart Dampener.