Hard to believe it’s been more than five years since my last post… well, time flies. A great many things have happened in that time, but I’ve logged back in to announce just one: the launch of the Garmin Impact bat swing sensor. The Impact is a training device for baseball and softball players that provides measurements and feedback on their swings and makes recommendations for improvement. It does this via an on-device display, as well as through an accompanying mobile app.
The Impact has been my primary focus for almost two years now, and I have taken part in everything from its PCB design and algorithm testing, all the way through to app development and sales training. It’s been a great excuse to visit the batting cages during working hours. I’ve also learned more than I ever wanted about iOS and Android development. Don’t even get me started on Swift…
But enough about me, let’s talk about the sensor. The Garmin Impact is powered by an accelerometer and a rate gyro, which together sense the orientation and position of the player’s bat throughout their swing. This allows us to compute five metrics: bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, elevation angle, and attack angle. We can also display the full swing path in 3D via the mobile app, with color-coding to indicate areas of high (red) and low (green) bat speed, with impact indicated by a purple line.
Now while other bat sensors exist today, the Impact is the only one to provide an on-device display, which allows for operation without a phone/tablet nearby. Just take a swing, then turn over your bat to view your five metrics, as well as a coaching tip (optionally shown every three swings). This instant feedback allows you to quickly make adjustments to improve your swing or to train for different scenarios.
The Impact mobile app allows you to explore your swings in full 3D detail, and provides images and extended descriptions to the shortened coaching tips displayed on the device. It also allows users to create and customize multiple bats and batters (as the device itself has only two buttons, entering batter names would be a headache). The app also enables your phone’s camera to capture swings, with triggering provided by the sensor itself. All you have to do is select “RECORD” and then point your phone at the batter – the sensor and app do the rest via their BLE link.
The sensor is ready to ship today via Garmin’s website (Amazon coming soon). The mobile app may be downloaded for free via both Google Play and iTunes. Any questions, please let me know! Oh, and the Impact sensor marks the first product on Garmin’s Baseball and Softball page, so stay tuned for more new and exciting tech on the way!