Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Apparatus and Methods for Analyzing the Motion of a Non-Elongate Body of Sports Equipment

Technology #4372

Dynamics of Sports Balls

University of Michigan Researchers in the Mechanical Engineering Department have developed a technology that measures the dynamics (i.e. accelerations and rotation speed) of round sports equipment, such as baseballs and bowling balls. The technology integrates an IMU (inertial measurement unit) into the sports equipment in order to store and/or transmit the information about the ball. This can be used to determine orientation of the ball, location of the laces or holes, and many other pieces of information. This technology can serve to train users for better performance or for enhanced injury prevention through better ball handling technique.

Sports Ball Motion

There is a wealth of information about the motion and accelerations of a sports ball from dribble rates to the torques exerted on the ball that would be incredibly valuable to players and coaches. Information about the dynamics of sports balls currently rely on stationary, high priced camera setups, which are lacking in resolution. There is a need for a technology that can provide this information in a low cost, ball-integrated platform.

Applications and Advantages

Applications

  • Athlete performance enhancement
  • Identification of unsafe ball handling
  • Soccer, baseball, bowling, hockey, golf, basketball, softball, etc.

Advantages

  • Measurement always with the ball
  • High resolution and high speed
  • Wealth of motion data