New 'Smart' Tennis Racket Offers Promise of a Different Stroke
Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 03:38 PM
Aluminium and graphite swept away the wooden racket that Bjorn Borg used to win 11 Grand Slam titles, but smart rackets that analyze power and spin promise a new tennis revolution.
One such intelligent racket is already on sale in the United States and will be launched in Europe in May.
The Babolat Play will cost $555 dollars, about twice the price of a classic tennis racket.
Eric Babolat, head of the French company that developed the racket, said "it is like Star Wars is coming to tennis."
The Babolat Play is shaped like any traditional racket.
But sensors inside the handle record the power of a stroke, the impact of the ball on the racket strings, the kind of stroke, the spin and game time and send the information to a smartphone, computer or other device.
Babolat, whose company is one of the oldest tennis equipment makers in the world having made the first animal gut strings in 1875, is convinced that within 10 years all rackets will be equipped this way.
The Babolat Play's basic design is an updated version of a racket produced by the Lyon company already used by Chinese women's star Li Na.
The new racket only looks different because it has a blue diode light at the bottom of the handle which flashes when the sensors are turned on.
The rechargeable racket can be linked to a computer, tablet or smartphone with a cable or by wifi.
The application will, for instance, tell you how many balls were hit cleanly and how many were sliced.
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