Former Indian cricket spinning great Anil Kumble is making a return to the cricket, not on the field but off it. Not with the ball, but with the willow. Spektacom, a sports technology startup owned by Kumble, has recently announced the launch of ‘Power Bats’ to take batting to a whole new level. Power Bat is IOT based – innovative sensor-powered sticker. It smartly quantifies the quality of a player’s shot by capturing data and analyzing its impact characteristics through a gamut of wireless sensors and cloud analytics.
Cricket has experienced exponential growth in recent decades. This has been further catalyzed by the advent of private franchisee-based leagues around the world. The massive following that IPL and other sports leagues receive has put a lot on stake for the franchises who participate in the leagues. As a result, the pressure of performance on players is at an all-time high. The batsman is expected to hit at least half-century, irrespective of which format of the sport they are competing in. Anything less than that is equivalent of committing a sin.
As the game has evolved, there aroused the need to make developments in the preparation required by the players for these matches. Enter Power Bat- the revolutionary IOT bat that, for the first time ever, quantifies each shot in real time.
The technology is being developed by the tech brain of Microsoft and cricket brain of Anil Kumble. (Spektacom is incubated at Microsoft under their ‘Scaleup’ programme). Power Bat also has a firm backing of another sports giant Star India.
Power Bat is seen as a revolutionary new way, the next big thing in cricket for fan engagement and biomechanical analysis of batting technique.
“In a Spektacom Power bat, there is a small sensor sticker a size of a credit card and less than 5 grams in weight pasted behind the bat under. The sticker transfers data in real time with the help of Microsoft’s AI and machine learning including the speed of the bat in km/hr, quality of the hit, magnitude of twist in the bat, atmospheric and pitch conditions etc.,” explains Anil Kumble.
The Power Bat has the power to provide players, coaches, commentators, fans, and viewers with a completely unique way to engage with the sport and help improve their game at the same time. It is powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using AI and machine learning.
The product has the facility to be charged wirelessly and to also connect with Microsoft Cloud via Bluetooth.
“We have brought out the new unit of power called ‘Specks,’ which becomes a great tool for self-assessment and improvement. You don’t need anyone looking at your shoulders or batting stance. The data can also be transmitted to the broadcaster during the live matches for enhanced fan engagement,” informs Kumble.
“The form factor of the product was critically important. I wanted something that was non-intrusive and easily acceptable by the player. The sticker can be applied to any bat. Just an app needs to be downloaded and it starts talking to the bat. The sticker itself will store enough data to be later downloaded to the computer.”
The bat parameters are employed to measure the quality of the shot. This helps professional cricketers, amateur players, coaches and all stakeholders involved in the game to visually discern each shot in quantifiable figures and help improve a player’s overall performance with data-driven feedback.
The data drawn from the power bats are then analyzed by powerful AI models developed in Microsoft Azure. Thereafter, it is transferred to the edge for continuous feedback to the player.
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