Last May in London, at an adidas Innovations event, the sportswear giant unveiled a surprise for all of those in attendance. In a long room that started with a piece of turf-esque carpet and ended with a projection on a screen, adidas had press at the event lining up, taking turns to kick a ball as hard and as far as possible.
This wasn't just any ball, however. This was the ball with a brain. An attendant with an iPhone in hand would press a button and upon kicking the ball at the screen your information, namely speed and trajectory, would appear almost instantly.
Almost a year to the day after that event, adidas have unveiled the latest version of the ball and app, putting it up for immediate sale.
The micoach Smart Ball gets its name from a sensor that is suspended in the center of the ball that feeds information to an iOS app via a Bluetooth connection. The ball relays data about how hard the ball was hit, the flight trajectory that the ball flew on, and where the player made contact with the ball. The data is quantified and displayed visually on the app and can be used as a training tool to help players with penalties, shooting, passing, and more.
The companion app features tutorials to improve play by showing the user where and how to hit the ball. The app also features a challenge modes for speed, placement, and technique. Players can also compete with themselves and their friends thanks to a record book and social functions.
Speaking about the ball, Christian DiBenedetto, adidas' senior innovation director, said:
"We're proud to bring the miCoach SMART BALL to soccer players around the world. There was a huge amount of interest in the concept when we first showcased the ball. The testing feedback from athletes has been tremendous and we know users will love the engaging and instructional training this ball will bring to their game. It is another great example of the breakthrough innovation we bring to sports to make athletes better."
"The adidas miCoach SMART BALL is a personal training tool. Everything we do at adidas is about helping athletes perform at their highest level and the SMART BALL is designed to help players train and refine technique, allowing athletes to improve flair, skill, power and control."
The ball is on sale now and retails for $299.