We’ve spoken with several groups looking to produce a Smart Bat—that is, a bat which has built in technology to deliver metrics on a player’s swing via Bluetooth to a smart device. We even reported that such bats were coming soon not too many weeks ago. We’ve now received confirmation directly from the horse’s mouth that RIP-IT Sports is willing to put their name out there as the pioneer in the space. Coming early 2016, if things go as planned, RIP-IT Sports should have their Smart Bat (smartBat) ready. Justbatreviews, in turn, is then happy to write the world’s first Smart Bat Review. Which leaves, like any good blogger would, the real work to people with actual jobs.
The smartBat will perform two general functions. The first is more common place: it will stream data including, among other things, metrics on your bat’s swing speed and attack angles to a Bluetooth connected device. Other devices (like the Zepp Labs Sensor) already do similar things albeit connected to the knob with an external mount not built inside like Rip-It’s smarBat. The second market changing function: the smartBat will give hard data access to the stream of smartBat metrics so software developers can create their own apps to make use of the data.
In other words, the ultimate usefulness of the bat’s smart data is only limited by the intelligence of a app creator’s software. It’s as if, at least somewhat, RIP-IT Sports is creating the iPhone of bats, and the bat’s usefulness will increase as developers create and improve applications for the streaming swing data.
In essence, WHAT the smartBat will do is better asked by What COULD a smartBat do?
It takes us a bit of time to wrap around some possibilities, but we can imagine a number of training apparatuses which would benefit from a smartBat’s stream of Bluetooth data. We can imagine, rather easily, a number of digital games enhanced by the use of a bat delivering thousands of points of data on its speed, location and direction. It’s as if our Wii controller was turned into a bat capable of hitting live pitching. The options seem rather endless. And rather exciting.
If things stay on track, it should be available early next spring. However, RIP-IT is doing a unique kickstarter campaign before going forward with production. They claim it is a go/no-go approach by testing the waters to see interest. In other words, if you want such a thing to exist, go this page, and pre-purchase your bat.
Right now it appears you can get in on the ground floor of their Kickstarter campaign for your choice of a baseball or softball smart bat at $99. Tons of more details on that page as well which are worth checking out.
We’d love to see this thing live, as to be able to make a real evaluation of the technology. The idea of additional applications individual programmers can develop with 1,000 data points per second of streaming goodness to a smart device from a bat sounds very exciting. But time will only tell if enough interest lies in the market for such a thing. For now, we can only hope there does and smart programmers will find a way into the baseball and softball space. Stay tuned.