CES (Consumer Electronics Show) was in town (Las Vegas) this past week. It always spawns a ton of articles about the latest appliances and devices manufacturers are developing. I don’t know if a smart basketball was on display at this year’s CES, but I recently read an article that talked about a basketball that had built-in sensors that can measure spin, arc and more. It can also connect to a smart phone, providing near real time shot statistics and even providing recommendations for improving your basketball shot. I don’t play basketball, but I bowl. I bowl at least three times week. The connected basketball got me thinking about technological devices to help me improve my bowling.
I’d love to see bowling ball manufacturers add sensors to each of their bowling balls that could measure ball speed, down lane distance at breakpoint, angle of pocket entry, number of revolutions, ball track, the distance at which the ball ceases to skid and begins to roll, skid flip (is that the same thing as the previous item in the list?) and more. The ball can transmit this information to a smartphone or tablet using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, providing near real time data bowlers can use to improve their game on the spot. I’m not sure how the device would be powered since it wouldn’t be practical to connect the ball to a power source to charge the embedded rechargeable battery, but perhaps the ball’s motion can be used to recharge the battery, like some watches do. Of course, new rules would need to be written. Bowlers could not be allowed to use these balls during USBC and PBA sanctioned leagues and tournaments or there needs to be a way to disable or turn off these sensors during league and tournament play. Using one during league or tournament play would provide an unfair advantage. Tournament officials would need to have devices that could detect whether or not these balls are used, or turned on, during tournament play. I’d pay to buy two balls, one with the sensors and one without the sensors if I thought the sensor enabled ball would help me become a better bowler. Bowling ball manufacturers are always coming up with new core designs, new cover stock materials, and other ball advances, why not smart bowling balls?
How cool would it be to have a ball that could tell you how you’re actually rolling the ball? Bowlers, would you buy bowling balls with embedded sensors that can help improve your game?