A chip on bat that tracks performances

A chip on the bat that tracks performances

Technology in sport has been a subject of much debate and discussion. In 1999, a microphone that then South African captain Hansie Cronje used to communicate with the coach resulted in a huge controversy.

Things have changed since. Technology is increasingly becoming part of sports, with varying degrees of success. However, tech in sports has seen an uptick over the past few years. It is this space that Bengaluru-based startup Spektacom, founded by former cricketer Anil Kumble, is aiming to make a mark. The company basically uses AI and other cutting edge technologies to understand the science behind sports, especially cricket. At the Future Decoded Tech summit by Microsoft recently, Spektacom was part of the Startup showcase. 

Spektacom has partnered with Microsoft for its cognitive AI service which has been powered by the company’s Azure cloud offering for real-time analytics and data management capabilities. 

Spektacom aims at creating a sporting ecosystem involving fans, coaches, and professionals through state-of-the-art video analytics, artificial intelligence, video modelling, and augmented reality. 

The company has developed the power bat, that essentially includes a 5-gram sticker that can be attached to the cricket bat, a stump box that acts as the gateway and offers AI-powered analytics to deliver insights on the batting style, timing, power and other aspects of the batsmen’s game.

Abhishek Binaykia, VP-Product management and Business development, Spektacom said, “It has many use cases for broadcasters, consumers and teams as well. In the course of a match, as soon as the batsman hits the ball, data on multiple parameters such as the speed on impact, the twist on impact and quality of the shot is captured and processed. We use Microsoft Azure to process this data.”

He adds that it has a wireless charger and can work on more than 700 shots in a single charge.

The device is placed on the top of the bat near the inside or outside edge depending on the batting style of the batter. 

Who are they working with?

According to Binaykia, the product is ready for commercial use and was used by a few teams and players in the Tamil Nadu premier league last year.

The company is in talks with franchisees and cricket boards to get this technology on board.

Binaykia says, “From a player and team perspective, it can help them understand the strength and weakness of the batters and the bowlers, can aid them in identifying issues with techniques and so on when the batters face different bowlers. “Players’ styles also change and this will incorporate all elements of their performance, not merely the power of the hit.”

On the other hand, for broadcasters and consumers, it offers a live status on the speed of the hit, the manner in which the shot was executed and the control on the shot, apart from other factors. 

Can this be used in other racquet sports as well? “It can be adapted with a few tweaks. We want to ensure that the device does not obstruct the performance of a player,” he said.

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