Our series of conversations with founders and companies going through HYPE’s Spin Accelerator in Taiwan. In this conversation we spotlight Jingletek.
Taiwanese startup Jingletek have developed and launched an IoT, smart baseball called STRIKE which is designed to help pitchers develop their technique and performance. Data can be synced to an app so users can get their own personalised performance metrics.
Baseball is the company’s first publicly launched product but there are plans and experiments to apply their sensor technology to other ball sports.
How was your experience at the recent HYPE Bootcamp in Taiwan?
Ruru: “This is the first time I’ve been in a startup accelerator program.
“The mentors really worked with me to help with my ideas on marketing, identifying problems and production which I found very useful, both for targeting the Taiwanese and outside of the country. Even learning how to pitch to investors was such a crucial learning experience.”
Describe the baseball that you have developed and the problem it solves?
R: “My company is Jingletek and our first product targeted the baseball market and then even more specifically the pitcher. The pitcher is so central to baseball games but we only have some data on them. If you watch Major League Baseball (MLB) games they provide viewers with some data. Currently we can see stuff like speed, ball revolutions, spin and velocity.
“Now when pitchers are in training, working with coaches, they don’t have the tools to gather more data to help their performance. The problem we see is that it is hard to understand if pitchers are improving during training.
“We’re trying to develop a product so it’s affordable for everyone to get pitching data so they more players can get insights. Since we’ve been shipping our baseball in the last six months, we’ve had positive feedback that pitchers have shown improvements.
“We won’t stop with our first baseball as we want to add in more features, first you have spin rate, rotations, velocity and then simulate the trajectory to home plate. Then we want to calculate a pitchers’ pitch time, their bodies trajectory. Then once a pitch has been caught by a catcher we want to work out their throws to say second base, a catcher may want to pick off a runner who is going from first base to second.”
The sensors are located in the core of the baseball, describe the placement of the sensors.
R: “The protected core has a chip and a battery inside which is designed to withstand a huge amount of force. The important thing is that the new materials we used matches the core of a regular baseball.
“The baseballs can be charged wirelessly on a charging pad. The weight of the baseball has not changed either, our sensors are calculated into the core but it doesn’t affect the weighting.
“We’ve done so much testing to make sure the weighting is exactly like a regular baseball, so it doesn’t affect any rotations, it’s so important that the balance is identical to a regular baseball.”
What is the global potential of your smart baseball? Can you apply your technology and experiments to other sports?
R: “Baseball is our first market but we’ve been experimenting with other balls such as a rugby ball. We have done testing to see whether we can put our sensor technology inside the core of a rugby ball so we can get rotation data and pass release data.
“The long-term plan is to see if we can put sensors into the cores of different balls for different sports so we can get data on any sport we wish – then the data can be sent to our app, then from the app to our cloud in order to build player profiles.
“With the rugby ball, we’ve run a test to see if we could understand the performance of rugby players through the way they pass and kick the ball. That can be combined with their current performance data such as speed and distance. The aim is to see how quickly they can pass and release the ball to their teammates.
“Our sensors can be put into a rugby ball, we already finished that phase of testing passes and kicks so we are ready to develop a smart ball for rugby.”
Conversations produced in collaboration with HYPE Sports Innovation.