Wilson, the sporting goods giant, is embracing technology. The company brought us the connected smart basketball in 2015. This year, it is bringing us the world’s first smart football.
The Connected Football can measure throw speed, distance, spin rate and spiral efficiency. It has a pair of accelerometers inside which can even detect whether a pass was caught or dropped.
“The sensor is in the very middle of the ball, suspended four ways, kind of like a spider web,” says Bob Thurman, vice president of Wilson Labs.
“You can kick it, you can punt it, you can punch the hell out of it, and the sensor won’t budge.”
All that is needed is a Bluetooth connection with your device for your ball to track your throws. Stats are stored on your device and uploaded anytime you’re connected to the Internet or your cellular network.
The Wilson X Football app will allow you to view all your stats in detail and compare them with others. It will also let you choose from a variety of game modes to test your efficiency under pressure. You can even choose to play for or against your favorite NFL team. Each team has different ratings and the app will adjust the difficulty of play based on your choice.
“If you watch slow motion of a football in flight, you’ll see that as the ball’s spinning, the nose of the ball is also drawing out a circle,” Thurman added.
“The smaller that circle is, the better. We turned the nutation angle into a measurement called spiral efficiency.”
You don’t need to charge the ball. The sensor unit is powered by a watch-style battery that lasts approximately 200,000 throws or up to 500 hours of connected usage. To preserve battery life the sensors are in sleep mode most of the time. You wake them up by performing a unique motion with the ball.
After the battery runs out? Well, you can still use it as a normal football.
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There are two sizes to choose from, the official and junior size. The Connected Football will retail for around $200 and is due to begin selling on September 8th. To coincide with kickoff of the 2016 NFL season, it is available now for preorder on the Wilson website.
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