Anil Kumble’s startup launches an AI-enabled cricket bat

Broadcasting has influenced cricket enormously over the past few decades. With the introduction of the ‘3rd Umpire’ in the early 90s (with Sachin Tendulkar being the first player given out via the medium!) for adjudicating run-outs, the intervention of technology in on-field ‘play’ had been legitimized. Hawkeye (which has also been exported to other sports such as tennis), Snicko and Hot-spot have become a veritable triumvirate that have fundamentally altered how cricket is played via the DRS system.

Now former India captain Anil Kumble, who is also a trained Engineer, has a startup called Spektacom Technologies which has launched a ‘Power Bat’ that is powered by Microsoft’s Azure Sphere cloud platform.

The technology works via a ‘sticker’ that is placed on the back of a player’s bat to record a variety of metrics with regards to a batsman’s performance that can add to the broadcast experience. Intel did something similar with a chip that capped the bat handle during the Champions Trophy 2017. Star India is already involved with the ‘Power Bat’, which means we are likely to see the implementation of this soon.

Meet: The Power Bat

The Power Bat is a unique concept whereby a lightweight, Azure Sphere-powered sticker is stuck on the shoulder of the bat — a form factor that is completely unobtrusive. In a live match, as soon as the batsman hits the ball, data on different parameters (speed on impact, twist on impact and quality of the shot — percentage proximity of the ball’s contact to the sweet spot of the willow) are captured in a new unit of measurement titled Power Speks.

Microsoft’s Azure Sphere ensures that the data is securely captured and processed. Using advanced analytics and AI services on Azure, real-time insights are captured through the stump box and displayed via the broadcaster. During practice or coaching, the same data can be viewed through a mobile app.

Representational Image

Mumbai, India

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