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Kickstart This Wearable Device for Tennis Players

by Jacob Kleinman | June 29, 2014June 29, 2014 2:00 pm PST

A lot of wearable devices these days fall short because they try to do everything and deliver on nothing. Even Google’s highly anticipated Android Wear looks a little too noisy for most people, but a new Kickstarter project may have found the solution by focusing on one specific function and nothing else.

Smash won’t buzz when someone likes your Facebook status or retweets you, and it won’t help you answer calls or respond to text messages. This sensor-packed wristband won’t even tell you what time it is. Instead, Smash is all about improving your tennis game by tracking every move you make and spitting out tips for improving your technique.

The device features a simple black design that’s flexible and light so it won’t slow you down. There’s also a small LED light built in so Smash can let you know when it has something to say. And of course, there’s an app to go along with the wristband, where you can check in on your latest results and set goals for the future.

Smash tracks everything about your tennis technique from how much spin you put on the ball to the speed and momentum of your racket. It also keeps tabs on your total number of shots, breaking them down by type, along with wrist rotation, and stroke trajectory. The main purpose of the device, according to creator Rob Crowder, is to improve your consistency, and Smash will make sure your impact point and technique stays consistent.

For now Smash is focused entirely on tennis, but in the future the same technology could be used for other sports as well. The company already has plans to offer an open API so developers can get to work outfitting the device for other purposes.

Under the hood, Smash packs an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. It also offers a lithium polymer battery, flash memory, a USB charging port and Bluetooth LE for connecting to your Android device or iPhone. Once it hits the market, Smash will cost $199 in Australian dollars (roughly $190 U.S.), but you can pre-order one now for just $129 AUD ($120 U.S.), though it won’t ship until early next year.

If you want to try out Smash as soon as possible there’s also an Alpha tier, which promises to ship the device by December 2014 for $299 AUD ($280 U.S.). There’s also a collectors edition tier for $399 AUD, or you can grab five Smash wristbands for just $599 AUD.

There are always risks backing any Kickstarter project, but the people behind Smash are taking every recourse to make sure their final product lives up to the hype. Crowder’s already assembled a team with years of experience and once he hits his Kickstart goals the company will really get to work. Smash will be tested to eliminate all software bugs, while the hardware also needs to be resilient enough to withstand sweat, weather and brute force. Signing up for the Alpha tier means you’ll get the device a bit earlier, but you may also get a slightly unfinished version.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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