Microsoft and cricket legend Anil Kumble’s startup, Spektacom Technologies have developed a new AI-enabled Power Bat that gathers real-time data for every shot played and displays the same for the benefit of the spectators and analysts alike. The two companies in association with Star India hope to redefine fan engagement with the sport. The Power Bat provides players and coaches with new means to improve their game, while at the same time letting viewers and commentators engage with the sport in a unique fashion.
The Power Bat is nothing but a regular cricket bat with a Microsoft’s Azure Sphere-powered sticker stuck on the shoulder of the bat at the rear. The sticker is unobtrusive and doesn’t provide the batsman with any undue benefit either. As soon as the ball hits the bat, data on four key parameters like speed on impact, bat twist on impact, proximity of the ball’s contact from the bat’s sweet spot and the power imparted in the shot is calculated in a new unit of measurement called Power Speks. The data is securely captured and processed using Azure Sphere, and with the help of advanced analytics and AI services, real-time insights are derived and relayed to the broadcaster. During practice or coaching, the same data can be accessed through a mobile app.
The hardware for this technology has been created by Spektacom Technologies while the software part and analytics are handled by Microsoft. While it was officially unveiled today, the technology has been on trial for a while. It was also used in the TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League) this year and the process of perfecting it will continue for a while. Not one to decline a quick session of cricket, I tried my hand at the technology in a net session at the event, and I must say it works better that I expected with the odd glitches here and there. While not close to perfection yet, it is certainly more than usable already. I won’t be surprised to see the Power Bat being used in IPL 2019.
We also had a quick word with Anil Kumble about the technology and the data points it captures. He informed us that this is just the beginning, and many more facets can and will be captured going ahead as per the feedback and demands of the players, coaches and broadcasters. Also, the company would strive to take this technology to other sports too.