Published on June 5th, 2014 | by Greg
Zepp Labs: A Multi-Sport Sensor System, Starting With Tennis
Better, smaller sensors. More powerful batteries. And wireless systems that tie it all together, along with fantastic computing devices in the palm of our hands. Whether you’re talking about the health industry or Big Data, these trends are only accelerating, but it still takes a lot of time and effort to pull it all together and make it intuitive. We’ve tried out plenty of fitness peripherals, devices to track our sleep or our even our basketball game. But most of them are still single-purpose, created only for golf OR only for tennis. Today’s tries to take the same sensors and use them across a few sports, allowing you to re-purpose the same kit in a few ways.
In fact, we’ve previously checked out a golf sensor from the very same company, the Zepp Labs GolfSense 3. Their latest project, though, we tested out in the form of the six gram Zepp Labs Tennis Sensor, which comes with a racquet mount and the universal sensor, a bit bigger than a breath mint and packed with an ARM processor, dual accelerometers and a 3-axis gyroscope. You download their Tennis app, pair your smartphone or tablet, and then can get a wealth of information on your overall game thanks to the 1,000 data points per second that can be measured. The mount can fit any racquet, we tried several and it fits on to the end of the handle neatly, though the sensor can take a little effort to turn on.
Like most similar systems, there is definitely some real potential to help you improve as long as you spend a bit of time learning how to process the information presented. Coaching is still a critical component, because the system is necessarily limited- it can’t really watch your footwork, and only sees one side of the game of course. But it’s a great tool to help you with your serve, for instance, detecting how much power you’re putting into your swing. Over the course of a game, you’ll be able to collect statistics like the number of topspin, slice and flat shots you hit by shot type and record the total amount of time you spend active on the court. We found these to be pretty accurate over the course of a few sessions. The battery life isn’t phenomenal, but at over eight hours or so of play time, should last you through even a marathon match. The charging cable is included and uses a regular USB connection.
We liked the 3D visualizations, though they aren’t perfect, and of course there are social features that allow you to share your data as well. The most intriguing part of the package is the ability to take the sensor and buy an alternate mount ($10)- separate options and apps are available for baseball and golf, with fairly similar feature sets. Available in stores and online now, expect to spend around $130. And pretty soon, we’re certain to hear Siri offering you tips on your baseline game and keeping score.