Finally, a smart basketball that can track your game

Basketball just got a big upgrade. 

The sporting equipment maker Wilson revealed on Wednesday its new Wilson X Connected Basketball, a classic regulation-size ball embedded with sensors to track how well you are shooting.

The smartball connects through Bluetooth with an app that can be downloaded on iOS and Android (Google Play is slated to come in October).

The app tracks the total time spent playing, the amount of shots taken and how many points were scored. To get started, players toss the ball in the air and let it land so it pairs up with the phone. The ball is intended for use with a 10-foot hoop, but Wired said it works accurately on an 8-foot hoop as well.

The basketball runs on a battery that will last for 100,000 shots — that’s 300 shots a day for a year. The ball will go into hibernation mode after a period of inactivity to preserve the battery. Once the ball dies, players can contact Wilson about getting a replacement ball, Bob Thurman, head of Wilson Labs and vice president of innovation, told Wired.

The app will also talk during your practice, saying phrases like “nice shot” and “not enough on that shot.” It will also simulate crowd noises, just hope that your phone doesn’t slip out of your pocket.

Under the surface of Wilson’s smartball is a Bluetooth radio, low-power processor and three-axis accelerator to make it work. The company worked with Finnish company SportsIQ to crunch the data.

But does it work? Wired says it is accurate in identifying baskets and misses, but that it logged a false positive on an air ball and sometimes didn’t register shots at all. By design, any shot less than seven feet away from the rim will not register. The ball must also hit the ground to track your game, so no rebounds.

For $US200, that may be a deal breaker for some. But the Wilson X Connected could be a cool way for a dedicated solo player to track their progress. Watch the promotional video below to decide for yourself.


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