We've already seen a couple of "smart" soccer balls with integrated sensors that track parameters such as the ball's spin and trajectory. Well, the DribbleUp takes a different approach to smart training. It doesn't feature any onboard electronics, but instead has markings that allow it to be tracked by a free iOS/Android app.
Users start by launching the app, placing their smartphone in an included stand, then showing the ball to the phone so that the app can "lock on" to it. They then step back and get taken through a series of training drills, guided in real time by both audio and visual cues – the phone can be connected to a TV, making the cues easier to follow when training indoors.
The drills fall into three main categories: Shooting, Juggling and Ground Work. As players' skills progress, the exercises get more demanding. The app gives feedback after each drill, plus it grades and tracks performance.
The ball itself is claimed to be of "match quality," with a textured synthetic leather skin and a butyl rubber bladder. It's being made in three sizes, to accommodate different age groups.
Eric and Marc Forkosh, the brothers who created the DribbleUp, have already seen success with a similarly-designed basketball. They've now turned to Kickstarter, to fund production of the soccer ball. A pledge of US$49 will get you one by October, if all goes according to plans. The estimated retail price is $89.99.