Will Sony have the answer to the next generation of tennis racquet connectivity? We will finally get a chance to see tomorrow with the introduction of the Sony Tennis Sensor to the tennis industry marketplace. This sensor is compatible/interchangeable with newer racquets from Wilson, Head, Prince and Yonex and seamlessly records swing speed, ball speed, ball impact spot, stroke type, and amount of spin. Recorded data is stored on your smartphone and sorted by shot type. Reports are automatically created so that you can review and analyze your performance. Features not unlike Babolat’s PLAY technology, but unlike Babolat, your shot data is recorded and displayed in real-time, in sync with video. Various playback features are available that give players instant feedback on their play. Leave it to a non-tennis company such as Sony to put their years of AV expertise to work in this device.
Other features include Share Your Play which allows the player to share your play result in a visual format via social media. Also Sequence Photo using Motionshot: The Smart Tennis Sensor App will integrate Sony’s free Motionshot app to create sequence photos to see a frame by frame image of a shot. Slow Motion Playback: Videos can be played back in 1/10 speed, allowing plays and coaches to view details such as footwork, position of contact, etc. No Apple Watch (sorry!) but there is Compatibility with Android Wear Devices.
Early testing suggests that the installation and interchangeable nature of the Sony Sensor offers a leg up on Babolat PLAY in that there are many more racquet options to which the sensor can be affixed. However, only relatively new frames from Wilson, Head, Prince, and Yonex are compatible at this time. By the time you factor in the cost of the Sony Sensor ($200 MSRP) in addition to one of the newer frames from the aforementioned brands, the total gets close to $400 for the combination. There will also no doubt be those who hold the racquet near the end of the handle that may feel the sensor, as well as the small change in weight (~10g or so) due to the sensor.
Interpretation of the data remains up to the user (and/or the coach), but the Sony Sensor looks to evolve the interactive future of tennis – until the next device comes along!