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The marriage of connected electronics and tennis has grown over the course of 2014. What began with the Babolat Pure Drive Play now includes the Zepp Sensor, the upcoming Shot Stats Challenger and one device that flew under the radar: the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor. Released as a Yonex-compatible device in Japan, the sensor is now poised to hit the U.S. by early next year in partnership with Wilson and Prince. Here’s the scoop on what players can expect:

Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor starts with an eight-gram unit that’s 31mm in diameter and has an IP65 waterproof/dustproof rating. The unit easily and discretely connects to the butt of compatible racquets and is small enough to have minimal impact on the performance of the racquet it’s connected to. Using a combination of sensing technologies, vibration analysis, wave and motion detection, the unit can detect multiple shot types. One key difference is its ability to detect volleys, something its competitors have struggled with in my testing sessions.

The Smart Tennis Sensor will provide real time analysis of shot count, swing speed, ball impact location, ball speed and ball spin. Once paired via Bluetooth with compatible Android or iOS devices, performance data will be reviewed via the companion app. Another innovation is its ability to record video of rallies while simultaneously displaying shot metrics. This presents an opportunity to make a visual connection between the data of your strokes and the mechanics of the stroke. The app will also have social sharing tools, turning hitting sessions into sharable experiences. Memory Mode allows for 12,000 shots on internal storage. This allows players to change between compatible racquets as they develop or switch to a spare frame without losing their history. As with the products already on the market, the Smart Tennis Sensor will continue to refine and add features as time goes on.

The Smart Tennis Sensor capitalizes on Sony's experience with analysis technology to provide tennis enthusiasts with another opportunity to use data to improve their skills. Its combination of versatile analysis, simultaneous video capture and minimally invasive build make it a very attractive product in the connected tennis market. Look for it to be available through Wilson.com first with compatible racquet models from Prince and possibly other brands down the line in 2015.          

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