Smart technology has given amateur and professional sportspeople access to a huge array of data. The latest suite of smart sports gear from Intel is focused on delivering more info to cricket players and fans alike, with plans to bring drones, virtual reality and a bat sensor to life later this year.
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So much of cricket is dependent on the pitch, so being able to analyze how the 22-yard strip of grass in the middle of an oval will behave is invaluable – both for fans and players. Intel plans to outfit its Falcon 8 Drone with high-definition and infrared cameras for pre-game pitch reports, with information about grass cover, grass health and topology for commentators to use during broadcasts.
The technology will be rolled out at the Champions' Trophy, which kicked off on June 1 in England.
The new bat sensor is powered by Intel Curie – a tiny module design to act as a low-power, multi-use brain for activewear. Sitting at the top of the handle, it's designed to track every shot a batsman plays. Cricket is an intensely technical game, and small tweaks to a batter's backswing, bat speed or follow-through can be the difference between an embarrassing walk back to the pavilion and a game-breaking century.
The tech will be making its debut at the Champions Trophy, where information from the current batsman will be shared with commentators. It will also be available to consumers as "Speculur BatSense" in Australia, Britain, India and the USA in the second half of 2017.
"Speculur BatSense with Intel Inside has the potential to transform cricket across a varied audience from coaches to aspiring self-taught cricketers," says Speculur Managing Director Atul Srivastava. "Coaches can use their insights and expertise along with the bat sensor data to make specific adjustments to a batsman's technique."
Bat tracking has more benefits than telling amateurs how poor their technique is. It will allow fans to slap on a VR headset and test their skills against a virtual bowler. The bat tracking technology will allow visitors to The Oval and Edgbaston to pretend they're out there with their heroes, and give them feedback about their bat speed, back-lift angle and a final score from the VR "session."