时间:2021-04-26 00:17
本文摘要:In 1990, when Eric Babolat was a college student in France, he remembers watching Sharon Stone play tennis with a hologram instructor in the movie Total Recall and thinking, Thats the future of tennis. This was not idle reflection. Babolat


In 1990, when Eric Babolat was a college student in France, he remembers watching Sharon Stone play tennis with a hologram instructor in the movie Total Recall and thinking, Thats the future of tennis. This was not idle reflection. Babolat represents the fifth generation in a family business of tennis equipment makers, started when his great-great grandfather made the first strings out of sheep gut, obtained from the slaughterhouses of Lyon. Their latest innovation, a racquet called Babolat Play, has just come on the market. This time, its not just strung; its wired.埃里克o百保力忘记,1990年他在法国上大学时,曾多次看完一部名为《宇宙威龙》(Total Recall )的电影。在这部电影中,莎朗o斯通和一个全息投影的“教练”一起打网球。当时埃里克不已想起:“这就是网球的未来”。他可不是闲着没事才回忆起回忆。

埃里克o百保力是知名家族企业、法国网羽设备制造商百保力集团(Babolat)的第五代继承人,从他的曾曾祖父开始,百保力家族就早已在用羊肠线自制网球拍,制作原料来自法国里昂的屠宰场。百保力集团最近发售了一款名为Babolat Play的网球拍。特别之处在于它是一副加装有电子设备的网球拍。The company first came up with the idea of a connected racquet a decade ago, thinking it would provide more reliable data about prototypes. We have professional testers who analyze if a racquet is rigid, heavy, light, Babolat says. We wanted to make sure that they were speaking the same language, and our engineers wanted captors to show exactly what was going on. They quickly realized this feature could prove interesting for players, too. Nobody really knows what happens the moment the racquet hits the ball.百保力公司早于在十年以前就明确提出了电子网球拍的理念,它实在这样做到可以搜集更为可信的数据用来研发原型产品。


“没有人明确告诉球拍打中球的那一刻到底再次发生了什么。”At the time, the technology wasnt up to the task, but three years ago it looked more promising, and Babolat gave it another go. To develop the system, it hired Movea, a leader in motion sensing technology headquartered in Grenoble. (In 2008, Movea acquired Gyration, who had worked with Nintendo on an early prototype for the Wii.) Babolat established two conditions. First, the technology would have to fit inside the racquet handle so that it wouldnt affect a players game. Second, it needed to be accessible and useful to all players, not just pros.当时,这项技术还没立刻托上议事日程。


第二,它的实用性必需针对所有运动员,而并不只是针对专业人士。They started by modifying the companys bestselling model, the Pure Drive. The Play version is the same weight, around 11 ounces, and looks nearly identical; the only obvious difference is two orange stripes at the bottom of the handle, buttons that activate the racquet and synchronize it via Bluetooth.研发团队开始在百保力最畅销的网球拍产品Pure Drive的基础上展开研发。Babolat Play和Pure Drive的重量完全相同,都是11盎司,外观看上去也一般无二。唯一明显的区别是Babolat Play的手柄底部有两个橙色暗条,以及用来转录球拍和通过蓝牙展开实时的按钮。

You have to remember to switch the racquet on before playing -- and, prior to that, to charge it. Afterwards, you download the data to your user account on a computer, tablet or smartphone app. Here you can see a breakdown of your shots by number and classification (forehands, backhands, serves, smashes), the power of your strokes in percentage, based on the speed of the racquet (100 percent corresponds roughly to a flat serve of 136 miles per hour), the type of spin you use and how often. An impact locator shows what percentage of your shots hit the sweet spot or the areas around it. CyrilleSoubeyrat, vice president of engineering for Movea, says this was the most complicated feature to make, requiring the development of brand new technology.踢球之前,一定要忘记关上球拍的电源——当然前提是别忘了电池。运动完后,你可以在电脑、平板或智能手机上通过一款应用于登岸你的个人账户,iTunes你的数据。你在这里可以看见对运动数据的详尽分类(反手、发球、发球、高压球),它还可以根据球拍的运营速度测算出有你的投球力度,然后用百分比的形式表明出来(100%的力度大体相等于平击发球的速度超过每小时136英里)。


Movea公司工程副总裁西里尔o索贝莱特回应,冲击定位器是整个产品研发过程中最好的部件,必须专门研发全新的技术。Soubeyrat did his best to explain in simple terms what happens inside the racquet during play. In the handle, sensors deliver signals to an electronic system, which executes algorithms. Some analysis takes place continuously, such as the racquets position in relation to the ground. Other measurements start each time the ball hits the strings, setting off a reaction like when a car crash sets off an airbag.索贝莱特尽量用非常简单的语言向我们说明了这款球拍的工作原理:运动时,手柄中的传感器不会向负责管理运营算法的电子控制系统发送到信号。

有些分析运算不会不间断地展开,比如球拍相对于地面的方位。其它的运算只是在投球的一瞬间才启动,就像车辆再次发生碰撞时,气囊就不会自动弹出有一样。At the moment of impact, the racquet experiences several modes of flexion and torsion, and at different frequencies. The electronic system analyzes all of these vibrations simultaneously, and within 200 milliseconds produces information about 20 different properties of the shot. At the same time, it recognizes and rejects all the parasitic gestures, such as bouncing the ball between serves or using the racquet to whack clay off ones sneakers.投球的瞬间,球拍短时内会在有所不同频率上经历好几种形式的倾斜、变形。

电子控制系统不会动态分析所有这些震动,在将近200毫秒的时间内,就不会得出结论关于这次投球的大约20种有所不同性质的数据。同时它还可以自动识别、回避一些“牵涉到动作”,比如在发球间隙将球弹来弹去时导致的震动,以及用球拍敲掉涂在球鞋上的土时导致的震动。Soubeyrat says the technology is remarkably accurate, even if there are things it cannot measure, like whether that ball you hit so powerfully went right over the court and into the parking lot. Eventually, he says, other tools could round out the offer, such as sensors in the shoes.索贝莱特回应,这项技术的精确度十分难以置信,尽管有些东西目前它有可能还无法测量到,比如说某次投球力度过于大,将球投出界外甚至碰到了停车场里。

但是索贝莱特指出,最后随着其它工具的发展(比如在网球鞋里加装传感器),这个问题终究会获得解决问题。One of the most addictive things about the new technology is the gaming aspect. Each player starts out as a newbie and can work his or her way up through levels like a video game. Theres nothing more frustrating in tennis than feeling you arent progressing, Eric Babolat says. To put a bit of reward in the application seemed like an obvious thing to do. You can join the global Babolat Play community, check your ranking and compare your performance to other players, even Rafael Nadal. If you like what you see you can share the data on Facebook.这项新技术最令人成瘾的地方是它所含电子游戏的因素在里面。每个运动员一开始都是一个“菜鸟”,然后可以像打游戏一样渐渐“升级”。

坎里克o百保力说道:“网球这项运动最令人失望的要数实在自己没变革。因此,在这款应用于中重新加入一点鼓舞的元素也就出了顺理成章的事。”你可以重新加入全球Babolat Play社区,然后查阅自己的名列,把自己的展现出和其他球员(甚至是纳达尔)展开对比。


如果你对自己的变革失望的话,也可以把你的数据共享到Facebook上。Can the racquet improve a players technique? The advantage of gaming is that it motivates people to play more tennis, Babolat says. Its exciting to see how you evolve. The company lent me a Play for a couple of weeks to try out. After noting (to my chagrin) that all of my serves were flat, I concentrated on adding some spin and immediately saw the difference, on the court and on the app. As for the impact locator, I managed to hit the sweet spot a good part of the time, but also hit a sizable percentage below it, and realized that I wasnt bending my knees enough. Afterwards, going back to my old racquet was a bit of a letdown.这样一款电子球拍否真为能提升网球爱好者的技术?回应,埃里克o百保力说道:“游戏元素的益处是,它能希望人们花上更加多的时间锻炼网球。看著自己的技术一天天提升,这种感觉很令人兴奋。”这家公司赠予我一支球拍让我试用一两个星期。


Babolat introduced the Play in mid-December in the United States, its number one market, selling it in 50 specialized stores. (It launches in Europe in May.) Though it was on the shelves for only ten days, it took fourth place for Decembers overall tennis racquet sales in the U.S., in terms of dollar value -- at $400, it is roughly twice the price of a normal racquet. Eric Babolat notes that in 2013, his company sold 1.8 million unconnected racquets worldwide, and he feels that the potential for connected racquets is huge: Im convinced that 10 years from now all racquets will be wired.百保力集团在12月中旬将Play球拍引进其第一大市场美国,目前这款产品在美国的50个专营店中有售。(相比之下今年五月才在欧洲公布。)下架仅有十天,它的销量就占12月美国所有品牌网球拍销量的第四位。

Play球拍的售价为400美元,基本上是一个普通球拍的两倍。埃里克o百保力认为,2013年,他的公司在全球共计售出180万支普通球拍,他实在电子球拍具备极大的潜力:“我坚信,十年以后,所有的球拍将都加装电子设备。”Meanwhile, two other companies have been working on a similar concept. Artengo, a French brand specializing in modestly priced racquet sport equipment, now sells a gadget that attaches to the outside of a handle and gathers data (also developed by Movea). And in January, Sony (SNE) showed off a prototype sensor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Weighing under 3 ounces and made to snap onto the butt of certain Yonex racquets, it comes out in Japan this spring.与此同时,还有另外两家公司也在研究类似于的产品。比如法国迪卡侬旗下的Artengo品牌专门销售中端价位的球拍和其它运动产品,现在Artengo发售了一款可以吸附在球拍手柄之外搜集数据的设备(也是由Movea公司研发的)。


Babolat sees this competition as encouraging. Im surprised that Sony is among the first to enter this field, since sports is not really their thing. But its reassuring to see that they are focusing on tennis, and that they believe it has potential as online community entertainment.埃里克o百保力指出这种竞争令人振奋。他说道:“索尼沦为第一批在这个领域竞争的公司之一,这让我实在很吃惊,因为体育并不是他们擅长于的方面。但是看见他们也把重点放到网球上,并且他们也坚信在线社区娱乐的潜力,还是让人不吃了一颗定心丸。”Last July, the International Tennis Federation wrote its 31st rule, permitting the use of approved Player Analysis Technology during competitions. Babolat is looking forward to the day the Play makes its debut in an official tournament. For the moment, however, only the Pure Drive is wired, and the companys star ambassadors -- Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -- use a different model.去年七月,国际网球协会(International Tennis Federation)制定了它的第31条规则,容许在网球比赛中用于经过批准后的“运动员分析技术”。

埃里克o百保力十分期望有一天能在月的网球锦标赛上看见Play球拍的亮相。目前这家公司的产品中,电子球拍只有Pure Drive一款,而公司的产品代言人纳达尔和威尔弗雷德o特松加则用于的是另一款产品。The pros had the chance to try the new racquet at a demonstration match at Roland Garros in 2012. According to Babolat, Nadal and his coach, Antonio Nadal, were like children when they got their hands on it -- Toni teasing his nephew that now hed see how badly he was serving, Rafa responding that he would show his uncle just how powerfully he was hitting. They are always on the lookout for the detail that make a difference, the Frenchman says. A player feels certain things, and his trainer sees others. For the first time they had quantifiable data they could discuss.2012年的一场法网表演赛上,专业运动员们取得机会试用新的电子球拍。


埃里克o百保力说道:“他们总是在找寻任何能提升成绩的细节。运动员可以感觉到一些东西,而教练能看见其它一些东西。Play球拍让他们第一次有了可以研究的分析数据。”Before the demonstration began, a 14-year-old ball boy went up to Babolat and told him excitedly that the racquet combined his two favorite activities, tennis and video games. It confirmed that we were on the right track, especially with young people, Babolat says. This is not just an old sport, people wearing white at Wimbledon. Tennis is cool.表演赛开始之前,一名14岁的球童回头过来,高兴地对埃里克o百保力说道,这款球融合了他最喜欢的两个活动——网球和电脑游戏。