1. SOTX A9 Smart Racquet, $495

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Sotx might not be a household badminton racquet name in Singapore, but this Chinese brand has its own following in China and Europe.

The company recently launched a high-module carbon racquet called the A9 Smart Racquet. Sturdy and lightweight, it feels and plays like any high-performance badminton racquet. But unlike other racquets, the A9 has a sensor built into its handle, that tracks stroke types and stroke speed and provides feedback during games.

You need to download the Smart Badminton app (available for Android and iOS) on your smartphone. Here, you can set the duration of each session and the target number of swings you want to achieve in each session.

Next, pair the app with the racquet. Make sure the pairing takes place at a spot where there are no other Bluetooth devices, as these might interfere with the pairing process.

When you finish a game, simply refresh the app to download the latest data. The app shows the total number of swings as well as the number of smashes, drives, lifts and slices you have made.

Text: Trevor Tan/The Straits Times

2. Wilson X Connected Ball, US$199.99

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It looks like any standard-size basketball, with the only giveaway being the Bluetooth logo. It has a chip inside that tracks how many shots you make or miss, as well as the areas on court where you are most efficient.

To set it up, you need a standard 10ft-tall (3.05m) basketball hoop, a nice and tight net, and a solid backboard. To pair the ball with the Wilson X app (available for Android and iOS), throw the ball up such that it reaches the height of the hoop and let it hit the ground.

In fact, you need to calibrate it like that each time you start a session. There are four game sessions available, namely Free Range, Free Throw, Buzzer Beater and Game Time. You need to have your smartphone with you and don wired earphones to listen to the audio from the app. So wearing a smartphone armband is a good idea.

Wired earphones or headphones are needed because Bluetooth ones will hamper the smart basketball’s connection with the app.

Text: Trevor Tan/The Straits Times

3. The Qlipp, $179

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The Qlipp is a tennis performance sensor that keeps track of your stroke type, swing speed, ball spin type (top spin or slice), and whether you are hitting the sweet spot – the dead-centre of your tennis racquet – during a match.

Developed by local startup 9 Degrees Freedom and crowdfunded in Indiegogo, the Qlipp is a small squarish device about the size of a dollar coin. It attaches to the strings of a tennis racquet close to its throat.

It works as a dampener to control string vibrations as well. Thus, the Qlipp can be used on any tennis racquet (and when you swap or change racquets), unlike the Babolat Smart Tennis Racquet in which the sensor is located inside the handle.

You charge the Qlipp via a micro-USB port at the base of the device and a full charge should last around four hours.

The Qlipp does not have any internal memory, but transmits the data it collects to its smartphone app (available for Android and iOS) via Bluetooth in real time. Apple Watch users can view time elapsed of the match, the speed of the last shot and current heart rate on their watch.

Text: Trevor Tan/The Straits Times

4. Adidas miCoach Smart Ball, US$189.99

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This ball looks and works like any standard size-5 football used in Barclays Premier League or international matches. But it has a sensor planted smack in the middle of the ball’s inside, with 12 impact-absorbing protective arms.

It even comes with a futuristic wireless charging dock. Each full charge is supposed to last 2,000 kicks, or around a week when the sensor is on standby mode.

Before using it for the first time, put the ball on the dock to charge and pair it with the adidas miCoach Smart Ball app (Android and iOS). Subsequently, it will be automatically paired whenever you start the app.

Text: Trevor Tan/The Straits Times


5. Smart Socks, US$199

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These Sensoria socks come with multiple sensors that detect your number of steps, speed, calories burnt and distance travelled. It also does a great job of detecting cadenc and foot landing techniques while you walk or run so you know how well you’re doing.