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Playing basketball is fun, but I am bad at it. I might be less bad if I used the Hoop Tracker smartwatch, which is designed very specifically for basketball, unlike most wearables that aim at a more general audience. The new Kickstarter project promises instant analysis and tracking of your shots, including three-point, free throw and field goal percentage, as well as more standard stuff like time spent on court and calories burned.
The watch itself has 7 hours of battery life under continuous use, weights just 2.3 ounces and is designed to be worn on your off (non-shooting) hand. It works in tandem with a ‘Shot Detector,’ another piece of hardware that you mount to the rim of any basketball net that detects when a basket sinks with a simple hardware trigger, meaning you don’t have to manually record when a shot does and doesn’t sink. For misses, it depends on detecting a basket hitting the rim or backboard but not tripping the lever found within the circumference of the basket itself, so if you airball you won’t be tracked, but otherwise it’ll log your screw ups too.
It has a working range of up to 45 feet, and communicates data back to custom Hoop Tracker software on your desktop. You can compete with friends via social links, and coaches can track up to 15 players at once on the software dashboard, with visual representations of where shots are most successful and where they’re being missed. Games offer the ability to challenge yourself, and the full-color LCD backlit display shows you a representation of the court, providing your current shot location, shooting percentage and your session shooting record from that spot at a glance.
You can review your entire session on your wrist with the watch alone, but uploading it to the web provides much more in terms of analytics capabilities. The idea is that by capturing all this data, you can improve your practice sessions by seeing where you need work, and where you’re already strong, rather than just blindly hitting the court for a set period of time and possibly working inefficiently.
Hoop Tracker is seeking $100,000 from its campaign, and backers can get a pre-order for just $99, which includes the smartwatch, a USB connector, the shot detector and a mounting pole for getting it on your basketball rim. The expected retail price of the Hoop Tracker is $199, and the startup is looking to ship the device this September. Single-purpose smart devices like this one are bound to be niche products, but with enough interest (the basketball market is huge) and potential professional adoption, this could be the next big trend in wearables.