Motion Analysis System Helps Choose Tennis Racket

Oct 16, 2012
Takuya Otani, Nikkei Electronics & Digital Health Online
Yasushi Nojiri, president and representative director of Dunlop Sports, holding a sensor to be attached to a racket
Yasushi Nojiri, president and representative director of Dunlop Sports, holding a sensor to be attached to a racket
[Click to enlarge image]
The sensor is attached to an end of the grip. And the user wears a wristband equipped with a wireless module and battery.
The sensor is attached to an end of the grip. And the user wears a wristband equipped with a wireless module and battery.
[Click to enlarge image]
Data is collected when the user hits a ball with a racket.
Data is collected when the user hits a ball with a racket.
[Click to enlarge image]

Seiko Epson Corp announced that it will provide its motion analysis system for the "Dunlop Swing Labo," which is a system that Dunlop Sports Co Ltd will offer to help choose a tennis racket.

The Dunlop Swing Labo can recommend an optimal racket for a user after the user swings a racket whose grip is equipped with a sensor at its end. Dunlop Sports will start to operate the system at 15 locations in Japan in November 2012.

The motion analysis system, "M-Tracer," consists of (1) sensors for measuring angular velocity and acceleration and (2) software for analyzing motion data and realizing three-dimensional visualization. The name is an abbreviation for "Motion Tracer."

First, the M-Tracer measures the angular velocity and acceleration of a motion. The measured data is transmitted to a personal computer, etc via Bluetooth, analyzed for each application and visualized as 3D images. The system has been employed for Mizuno Corp's service that helps choose a golf club and was announced in August 2012 (See related article).

The user of the Dunlop Swing Labo swings a sensor-equipped racket while wearing a wristband equipped with a wireless module and battery. After hitting five balls coming from a machine in the aim of hitting a ball in a certain direction, the system measures "swing speed" and "swing direction" while taking images of the user's form with a camera for analysing and displaying it with a special computer.

Based on the data, a staff member certified by Dunlop Sports chooses four or five rackets for recommendation. Then, the user tests the rackets one by one, and data is collected again. Finally, the staff member recommends the racket best suited for the user.