Tennis Innovation Challenge was conducted only last month under the Tennis Industry Association. The competition highlighted innovative tech based products and services to make tennis a more precise and high tech game. This competition was won by Tennibot.
Tennibot is an incredible idea, hands down. Being a robotic tennis ball collector, it detects ball in all parts of the court using its sensors and the camera.
For Haitham Eletrabi, founder Tennibot, collecting balls at the end of his tennis practice was the most hectic job. “I think one day I was hitting with a tennis ball machine and after hitting for an hour and a half I was sick of picking up balls,” Eletrabi said. “I said, ‘I’m not going to waste any more time (picking up balls).”
With his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Auburn University, Eletrabi started with his research of developing a product which could streamline the pickup of tennis balls. Eletrabi knew he had to make its high tech and efficient in its job, unlike the manual ball pickers already available in the market.
According to Eletrabi, “The idea behind Tennibot is having multiple sensors, a camera and secondary sensors that see the ball, and once it detects the ball, it moves towards it, picks it up and it jumps in the bucket. Then it moves on to the next ball until it’s full.”
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Tennibot is controlled through a smartphone app. The app lets you choose from where you want the balls to be picked up and where you want them to be dropped off. It also keep track of how many balls have been picked up which should be equal to the balls you’ve hit, else you’ve lost some.
According to Eletrabi, Tennibot takes only a few minutes to pick up the balls and you can do it during your break from the game.
Tennibot is still in pre-production. Once available in the market, it will be sold at a handsome price of $900. Yes, we had the same question in mind, “Why pay $900 when there are cheaper options available in the market?”
Eletrabi replies to this by saying, “When it comes to technology, when you think about the size of the product, a tennis ball machine will cost $1,000 to $6,000 or $7,000. You have lots of requirements regarding the batteries, motors, durability, the plastics and the frame and the fact that you need to make sure that it’s solid enough that it can maintain.”
Well, who knows the price comes out to be cheaper or flexible for the early bird registrations. The company will start shipping in 2018.