Imagine trying to observe an important set of details integral to your success in the span of 0.2 of a second. Those dedicated to the sports of baseball or softball understand this challenge. A baseball swing takes 0.2 of a second to complete, which is too fast for human observation. Coaches, recruiters and players spend an exorbitant amount of time re-watching film of one swing to understand its overall quality. One could watch the same tape dozens of times to chase the mechanics that construct a perfect swing. Diamond Kinetics, a fresh startup and member of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, has addressed this challenge with the most cutting edge motion analysis and skill improvement tools available.
When it was just a prototype, Dr. William Clark, a Mechanical Engineering Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, came to the Institute to build a business plan based on an idea to use motion sensors for analysis in baseball and softball. Dr. Clark had been a coach for many years and frequently wondered about how to quantify and provide feedback on the various motions in baseball. He worked with CJ Handron, an Institute consultant and future CEO of Diamond Kinetics. According to Handron, “we worked together for almost a year at the Institute before I made the decision to join the company full time as CEO to build out the infrastructure from a business perspective.” He added that his work with over 200 companies as a consultant through the Institute gave him an opportunity to be involved in a wide range of business situations, both positive and negative. “I developed a strong network within the early stage technology community, which has certainly been valuable as Diamond Kinetics has worked to raise capital, seek out advisors, and add team members,” said Handron.
Diamond Kinetics now has a cast of two promising goods and services: SwingTracker and BatFitter. A lightweight sensor that temporarily attaches to the bat, SwingTracker captures motion data in real time and sends the information to a paired mobile device. It allows customers to compare swing metrics against other players by age and skill level. Additionally, one can see his or her swing and motion data together through a 3D viewer and video mode. BatFitter is a system capable of recommending the optimal bat for each player’s unique swing. Utilizing the same motion analysis technology as SwingTracker, the app is portable and useful for retail locations, training facilities, and special events.
Featured in Sports Illustrated, Mashable, and MIT Sloan, Diamond Kinetics is headed for great places. It found a spot on the “Pittsburgh Business Times Companies to Watch in 2014” list and will participate in MIT Sloan’s Sports Analytics Conference 2014 Start-Up Competition.