Keeping stats during a football game just became fool-proof. The Wilson X Connected Football can tell you how far, how fast, and how efficiently you throw the ball, thanks to embedded internal sensors.
The sensors are located in the middle of the ball, suspended four ways, making it completely durable for the inevitable rough play that happens on the football field.
Two sensors are onboard — a pair of offset accelerometers, which can effectively mimic a gyroscope, a setup that measures the speed of each throw, the speed at which the ball spins, and the nutation angle (aka how tight that spiral is) of each toss. When the football is thrown, the nose of the ball should spin as it is drawing out a circle. The smaller that circle is, the better the throw, which is by the creators of the connected football compute the nutation angle into a measurement, dubbed spiral efficiency.
The sensor unit itself is powered by a coin cell battery that is projected to last for 200,000 tracked passes. There is no way to charge the ball, nor is there a way to switch the sensor unit out, so after the battery dies, the ball becomes just that — a "dumb" ball.
Like many smart devices, take wearables for example, they remain in sleep mode for the majority of the time in order to conserve energy. The accompanying app tracks activity, and will prompt you to “wake the ball up.” To do this, you must hold the football vertically with both hands for two seconds, then flip it vertically and hold it for another two seconds. This unique pattern activates the sensors and Bluetooth, and also prevents the ball from draining its battery by accident.
The football transfers data over Bluetooth to the accompanying iOS app, which provides you with instant stats on your throw speed, distance, ball rotation in rpm, and spiral efficiency. The app even boasts its own fun games, and has leaderboards for competing against friends or family. For instance, you can do a quick two-minute drill that lets you compete against the clock, and there’s even a digital version of the five-Mississippi pass rush.
But not so fast, cheaters. The app knows if you’re trying to get one over on it. The football can sense whether it’s been caught or dropped, and if you’re playing one of the app games and a receiver drops the ball, it registers as an incomplete pass.
The football is available in youth sizes, as well as the official NFL size, and you can score one for $200 bucks.