A batter's swing takes, on average, two-tenths of a second -- less if you’re in the big leagues. So it’s not easy for a human coach’s eye to assess power, speed and control.
Not far from PNC Park, Diamond Kinetics is working on the fix.
CEO C.J. Handron lifts his slugger and aims. The barely perceptible device strapped to the knobby base of the bat doesn't move, but it's picking up 15 metrics in real time
“(Swingtracker) is a really powerful little wireless sensor,” Handron said. “It communicates by Bluetooth and we capture over 10,000 data points a second with the intent of being able to analyze and quantify a really complex motion."
It alerts the batter through a smartphone app what's going on with his or her swing, Handron said, and benchmarks each performance against peer groups -- different ages and skill levels -- so athletes know how they stack up.
“So every time I take a swing, you can see how quickly that little diamond popped up,” he said, dropping the bat after a training swing. “That’s the processing of those 10,000 data points.”
So far, Diamond Kinetics has attracted $3 million dollars in investments from, among others, Pittsburgh Pirates chairman and principal owner Bob Nutting.
K-Zone Academy, a baseball training center in North Carolina, used a competing device but found the data wasn't as accurate as Swingtracker, owner Dan Kopitzke said. There's a big space for technological precision in batting practice, he said.
“Probably the biggest issues with any of these new electronic devices, and SwingTracker is not immune to it, is the reliability, getting it to work every time,” Kopitzke said. “There are bugs in the software, in the apps.”
Diamond Kinetics is working with trainers like Kopitzke to field those bug reports and develop new features.
In this week’s Pittsburgh Tech Report calendar:
The Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference takes place Nov. 3-4 in Bethel Park.
Applications for the Invest in Her female entrepreneurs program are open until November 1.