Business and engineering students at Brigham Young University are collaborating on a unique basketball training system that uses motion sensors and other devices to automatically track shots and provide instant feedback, allowing a player to monitor performance.
BYU will bring its technology concept to Indianapolis and the 7th Annual ASME IShow on June 22, where the student team will compete with nine other finalists in an exhibition of creativity, technical ingenuity, innovation, and entrepreneurial and business acumen.
Named The Shot Coach, the BYU system consists of three devices -- wristband, electronic box attached to the backboard and smartphone App -- operating in unison to track shots and instantly transmit data to the player or coach. The lightweight rubber wristband on the player's shooting hand is equipped with advanced sensors that track the position of the wrist throughout the motion of a shot.
"We have designed the wristband with a digital compass and other advanced sensors that reconstruct the exact orientation of a player's wrist in the process of shooting," said Josh Bennett, a mechanical engineering student at BYU and member of the six-person team presenting at the ASME IShow. "The wristband also keeps information on the player's position anywhere on the court."
The box mounted to the rim on the backboard contains a motion sensor that tracks successful shots, as well as an accelerometer that keeps track of the unique vibrations of both rim and board on missed shots.
"Sometimes, shots are missed because they are too strong and other times because they come up a little short," explained Bennett. "Our box monitors all this information."
A Bluetooth transmitter in the box wirelessly transmits the information to any smartphone or tablet, allowing the player or coach instantaneous feedback. The Shot Coach App delivers statistics and visual maps on various aspects of every shot, including location on the court, orientation to the basket, and other critical data.
"The objective of our system is to give the player or coach the kind of feedback that can be applied to improvements in all aspects of the game, from critical decisions to correct form," said Bennett.
Although a coach can receive the feedback, the BYU team has created The Shot Coach to make improvement measures accessible to the players themselves. BYU's marketing strategy targets the youth and high school basketball circuit, which lacks the resources for personal coaches and for the types of expensive high-end analytics employed in collegiate basketball programs and the National Basketball Association. According to Bennett, The Shot Coach will cost around $250.
The concept for The Shot Coach was launched in January 2013 by a team consisting of marketing and finance majors, programmers, and electrical engineers. At the ASME IShow, the students must speak in the language of technology innovators and business entrepreneurs, attempting to convince a panel of successful venture capitalists and intellectual property experts that their system can be designed, manufactured, and sold in the commercial marketplace.
"The real challenge for the participants in ASME IShow is to design a product or system that demonstrates potential in the broader marketplace," said Thomas Loughlin, the executive director of ASME. "ASME IShow is a great test of a student's engineering skills and business aptitude."
Information on the ASME IShow is available at http://www.asme.org/events/competitions/asme-ishow.
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