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In Search of Tennis Gadgets at CES 2017

Each January, 185,000 people descend on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. While the masses aren't there to look for the latest tennis training aid or wearable device, potential gadgets for tennis players and fans are found in just about every corner of the city.

The Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas
© Rick Limpert
Wearable technology consistently breaks through new boundaries, and it is in the realm of fitness and sports that it has joined the mainstream. CTA Market Research estimates that 5% of U.S. households in 2014 owned an activity/fitness tracker; by 2016 the number had increased fourfold to 20% of U.S. households, and there is no end in sight. 55% of tennis players say they are receptive to using new technology in their sport, so we might be just scratching the surface of what is coming for tennis enthusiasts.

I head west each year to CES to see what is new. While the HDTVs, high tech automobiles and computer accessories might get all the headlines, some of the best debuts at CES are sports and fitness related. The FitnessTech Marketplace at CES has expanded exponentially since it was established in 2011, and 2017 was the biggest show to date. I went out of my way to search out and try some of the items at CES that might be of use for the tennis public. Here is what I found:

Combine a new app with accessories like a Heart Rate Belt and you have the Sports Tracker platform. This is an award-winning application and online service developed by a passionate team of mobile experts and outdoor enthusiasts - as well as by users worldwide in more than 200 countries. Put your phone in your pocket, armband or bike-mount, and add the Sports Tracker Heart Rate belt so you're ready to hit the road to collect and share data.

At CES, Sports Tracker had three Olympic Gold Medal winners in Brianna Rollins (Hurdles), David Boudia (Diving) and Kaitlyn Farrington (Snowboarding) there to demo the product. The app uses your phone's internal GPS to track your route, time, distance and speed. It's not just for running or walking, but also while playing or participating in dozens of sports and activities. Heart Rate belt is $85 and the app is free.

"Seeing is believing when it comes to sports." RightEye is a leading technology innovator that uses eye tracking to revolutionize performance vision assessments and training. It recently announced that it was selected to provide baseline performance vision screenings to all athletes entering Prospect Development Pipeline, a newly created channel for amateur baseball players to gain exposure with Major League Baseball clubs. Hand-eye coordination is key for developing tennis players, and RightEye stands at the cutting edge of all similar platforms. Athletes will receive direct feedback on their performance - and dynamic vision assessments to further develop these attributes.

"RightEye has been working with leading innovators in Major League Baseball and other professional national teams for several years, using eye tracking to assess and improve athlete and team performance," said Barbara Barclay, president of RightEye. "With RightEye vision tests, teams will have a way to obtain quantifiable, objective assessments of potential players' visual strengths."

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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