It’s the bane of every hoops player’s existence: You catch the pass, dribble down the court, then square off for the perfect shot – and miss. Even with free throws, when no one’s trying to steal the ball, the average sink rate among professional players is around 75%.
Now a startup in Sunnyvale, California, wants to help players up their game. Vibrado Technologies is developing a sleeve that looks like the ones worn by LeBron, Carmelo and Kobe, but is embedded with sensors that measure the arc, angle and momentum of every shot. Company co-founder Cynthia Kuo told UPI that developers took into account “things like keeping your elbow in, following through with your wrist, and keeping your arm up, but not too far up,” when designing the sleeve, which is not yet on sale.
Players can learn from their mistakes in two ways: either through lights that blink and sounds that beep on the sleeve itself – which runs from the back of the hand all the way to the upper bicep – or through more detailed feedback that they can view on a computer. Just coming out of stealth mode, Vibrado hasn’t revealed any details about the device on its website, but you can see a prototype of the gadget in action in the video below.
It all sounds well and good in theory, but can a battery of sensors truly capture the art of the perfect shot? One expert in sports biomechanics, Larry Silverberg of North Carolina State University, told New Scientist that the one thing missing from the device is an analysis of the rest of the player’s body movements in the moments before the ball leaves their fingertips.
While the high-tech sleeve has reportedly been tested at a sports clinic in San Jose, California, there’s no word on whether any pro ballers are willing to swap out their own signature sleeves for the Vibrado. And don’t expect to see them wearing it in games this fall either. For now, anyway, the blinking, beeping sleeve is strictly a training aid.