There is all sorts of smart tennis gear, from connected tennis rackets, stats-gathering wristbands to a robot that vacuums up tennis balls. Now we are getting a second take on something that scoops up tennis balls so you don’t have to.
Around two years in the making, Vive Tennis Robot Ball Retriever has just gone live on Indiegogo. The gizmo is meant to be used during a tennis match acting like a ballboy.
Play as you normally would. Vive stands on the side patiently waiting next to the net. It keeps tabs on play via proprietary tracking technology capable of identifying when a ball is no longer in play. At that moment it will spring to action, retrieve the ball and bring it back to you at the baseline.
As mentioned, this is not the first robot tennis ball retriever. A while back we wrote about another crowdfunded device called Tennibot. That one, however, is much bigger and is meant for use during practice rather than match play as it scoops up multiple balls. Tennibot was announced in 2018. To the dismay of its backers, it is still yet to see the light of day.
Hopefully the wait will not be as long with Vive Tennis Robot Ball Retriever. The company is hoping to start shipping in April 2022. That is assuming it raises the $100,000 needed to complete product design and manufacturing. It is still very early to tell whether the project will meet with funding success as the product was just listed on Indiegogo.
Essential reading: Best tennis gadgets and smart gear
The bad news is the gizmo is quite pricey. A pledge of $499 is required to have one of these delivered to your doorstep next spring. And that’s down from the $799 price it will sell for when it hits retail.
We’re not really sure how much luck the company will have with such a high price-point. Particularly as crowdfunded project carry lots of risk for those willing to take the investment plunge. At the end of the day they have no guarantees they will actually receive anything. There are countless stories of companies on Kickstarter and Indiegogo not delivering on their promises.
The company is marketing Vive as the world’s lightest, smallest & fastest AI-powered ball retriever. And they’re not kidding. The thing measures 19cm x 19cm x 15cm and weighs a mere 1.9 kg.
Vive has two brushless motors for driving, a 3-axis accelerometer/gyroscope and a collapsible motorized camera to keep an eye on the tennis balls. The rechargeable battery allows for a full day of play on a single charge.
There’s also a remote wristband which you can use to turn the robot off and on. You can even program it to only pick up tennis balls on your side. Let your opponent worry about his!
Capable of speeds up to 2.1 meters per second this seems like an interesting product. We definitely like the idea. But at that price-point it might be a hard sell.
Price:$499 and up
$1,100 pledged of $100,000 goal
12 days left
Estimated delivery: April 2022
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