Qlipp Tennis Performance Sensor Offers Wimbledon Crowdfunding Reward
Today marks the beginning of the 2015 Wimbledon tennis tournament and almost a week since the Qlipp tennis performance sensor launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The Sports Techie used Skype to chat with Co-founder, Donny Soh, about his Bluetooth enabled tennis sports technology product. The sport of tennis is using sports tech products to help regrow the game here in the US to both youth and adults. Startup companies like Qlipp are launching to capitalize on this trend while helping to grow the game around the globe using performance big data.
QLIPP Sports Tech
Each player has unique strokes and swing planes, spins, shot speed and sweet spot accuracy. A Qlipp captures forehand spin, backhand slices and volleys, as well as first serves over 100 mph or a second serve at 55 mph. Stroke detection, stamina and duration of rallies can be shared with the Qlipp community resulting in skill points, rankings and experienced gained metrics. Players and coaches can instantly view data, save each session for future reference or compare their performance to others using QLIPP.
Soh is a data scientist, owns three rackets and plays recreationally. Their software engineering team developed, tested and is almost ready to sell the Qlipp smart device. It clips to a racquet and gathers performance data, provides measurements and offers video capture insights while synching with their free mobile app available for iOS and Android devices for instant feedback enabling adjustments to mechanics and form right on the court. The app UI voice feedback barks out real-time stroke information like a coach does. Synch your tennis analytics with video clips for instant analysis and feedback. An hour or week later it is easy to filter through all forehands and review every single forehand hit in slow-mo and then share it with coaches, family and friends.
Use the social media share functions to send a summary or video of how you did, of each backhand and the heaviness of spins, speed of serve and the net volley game you have worked on improving. A coach can sit down at his perusal and offer feedback from half way across the city or world.
QLIPP is touted as the lightest (8 grams), most portable tennis sensor available on the market today. “The batter charges for 6 hours and will last over a year,” said Soh. The “twist and lock” design doubles as a dampener to reduce the vibrations of the strings when the ball hits the racket. At this exact impact moment, data is wirelessly transferred from the QLIPP sensor to an iOS device (in Beta) or soon an Android device.
It can measure real-time stroke metrics, track match points while providing video analysis and slow motion replay to give users and instructors a deep dive look into a swing, ball spin and speed, along with other statistics and measurables any coach would love to know and use during instruction, training and games.
“Whether heading out for a casual match or competing in a tournament, tennis players are always looking for new ways to improve their game,” said Soh. “Players using QLIPP will be able to improve their game by having shot insights that have never been available before. It’s like having your own personal tennis coach with you every time you take the court. By knowing how you are hitting the ball, you can have the knowledge needed to help maximize each stroke.”
The goal of the QLIPP crowdfund campaign is to gauge market interest and solicit the necessary funds for final product development and hopefully distribution by December, 2015. This step will allow the company to polish features, and continue working hard on the prototype while setting up manufacturing lines. Soh feels that orders are a trigger for them to buy materials and create further business development plans.
In six days they have raised $20,000 of the $30,000 threshold amount to be used primarily for Bluetooth certification. Consumers had the option of signing up for the limited Early Bird special of $79 but that is sold out. The Qlipp Wimbledon Special is now available for $84 per unit, a $45 savings off the $129 retail price. Other rewards to consider include a QLIPP for $99 and a “Coaches Package” of five QLIPPs for $375 USD. The campaign can be seen at: http://igg.me/at/qlipp.
Sports Techie, QLIPP aims to be the perfect training improvement tool for all casual and tour professional tennis players by allowing users to gain insight into strengths, weakness and game components needing improvement.
Qlipp is in immediate competition before availability with Babolat and Sony motion capture units. The company secured $100,000 in private funding from an angel investor last year. They are looking at Indiogogo as a validation stage before the next round of funding. Soh expects it to be a small round around $500K. He said an exit strategy is most likely a quick sell to different manufacturers wanting product line integration. Soh said, “Qlipp can be reengineered for other sports.”
While their software is all handled in-house, hardware has been outsourced. Qlipp does not work with Apple Watch but they plan to integrate with it in the coming months. I asked about the possibility of synching with fitness trackers. Soh said to integrate data they would need API information. They have looked at heart rate monitors and the Mio watch as apps that would synchronize data back to the device and display intensity of workouts.
This unit is neither waterproof nor water resistant but Soh said it should be fine in heat temperatures since it was tested under extreme heat and humidity conditions. I wanted to know how durable Qlipp is. During testing, they hit the sensor with balls as may occur during practice and play. The results indicated a sensor might get displaced and need to be reattached correctly but no significant damage occurs to the product. Early prototypes were destroyed at times though.
Qlipp operates in the English language and does not support any other languages at this time. Soh said since they have supporters from China, Italy and Spain, it makes sense that Chinese, Spanish and Italian are probably first in line. They were recently in Munich at a trade show and he feels that Germany is another strong country placement for their product so German is also being considered. Distributor talks are also underway the UK.
“This product is seen as a tool for professionals” said Soh. It is another tool to add to coaching feedback. Coaches like it a lot because they can show how a tennis player is doing, they can see if it is helpful for a player or not, and they are able to watch strokes on video. If players are trying a try new technique, the increased quantifiable feedback is unmatched in the industry.
Enjoy the Wimbledon event and Qlipp on.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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