It isn't often that one attends a financial conference to discover a technology and a sport that one is familiar with. Well, this happened to me recently, and I saw two of my passions combined: data acquisition and golf.
Amongst several company presentations was a company, Zepp, which was unknown to me previously. Its product is a small data acquisition "button" that contains sensors, A/D converters, ARM processors, flash storage, and Bluetooth compatibility. Its purpose is to measure golf metrics for real-time analysis straight to your smartphone or tablet.
The button is small (approx. 1 x 1 x 1/2 inch) and attaches to the Velcro of your golf glove. The golfer can swing at a golf ball at practice or on a golf course and get instant analysis of that swing on his phone.
I was skeptical at first, thinking that the force of the swing would dislodge any device structure in the button. But I quickly changed my mind when I tried it out and saw the results. It gave meaningful golfer information. Frankly, I was very impressed!
Here was my field, data acquisition, applied much differently to a sport that I play rigorously and often. "Why did the ball go there? I must have looked up! I didn’t follow through! What did I do wrong?" These are common refrains from golfers, including me. Everyone tries to figure out what they did right, or conversely what they did wrong. The real-time feedback from such a small device can help immensely, all for $149.
Now, I am not selling it (Amazon and Best Buy are), but being deeply involved in data acquisition and knowing what it takes to come up with such a product, I was very impressed.
Essentially this is a real-time system with sensors, computer, and application software. But most of all, the mechanical packaging to get this in a very small indestructible "button" and seamlessly work with the standard smartphones, sets it apart. What I further thought ingenious was the simple attachment to a golfer’s common apparel, the glove, was so simple, but effective.
Up to now we have seen video and imaging techniques applied to sports, but now data acquisition has added to our understanding of our own dynamic movements. And it will go beyond just golf. Baseball and tennis are on tap for this same real-time metrics. Young baseball players will now be evaluated for all kinds of data metrics without ever having seen a scout in person. We are on the cusp of data acquisition moving into the non-technical arena and playing a larger role in understanding and quantifying sports success.
Maybe data acquisition is not so esoteric to the wider world.