Oregon Patent of the Month – November 2022
While tennis ball-machines are helpful with beginner-level practice, their inability to move about can be quite limiting. Surfasense, LLC, an R&D company based in Oregon, set out to design a versatile machine that meets the needs for adaptive and dynamic training sessions.
Their smart ball-machine uses AI to build adaptability into the training session. In response to the player’s abilities, the machine can adapt the speed, topspin, and bounce of a launched ball. A series of sensors including air temperature, air pressure, wind speed and direction can inform the machine so that it may adapt the launch or serve to the environment. The machine itself is equipped with wheels, motors, and shafts needed to support this truly customizable launch of each ball. A separate set of 4-way steering wheels allows the machine to move in any direction on the court.
The ball-machine is further equipped with cameras and infrared sensors to track the player’s motion. By tracking the player’s shot return rate, misses, speed of return and more, the machine can adjust the training program to address the player’s weaknesses. The player can also adjust difficulty level so that they can have a simple, fun training experience or a hardcore session.
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