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Baseline Vision - Remarkable New Product For Tennis

 

By Rich Neher

I received the Baseline Vision unit late last year, and it was only last weekend that I had the opportunity to test it. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, I was unable to do so earlier. But I am glad to finally have the chance to evaluate its capabilities. The main purpose of acquiring this unit was to assess its accuracy in making line calls. I believe that if the price becomes more affordable, companies like Conga Sports, could greatly benefit from incorporating this device into our new flagship program, City Slams® Team Tennis Tournaments, which we plan to expand to 150 markets nationwide.

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RECEIVING THE BASELINE VISION

Upon opening the carrying case and examining the meticulous assembly and high-quality components, my initial impression was that the product originated from Germany. The attention to detail evoked thoughts of a Mercedes product. However, Baseline Vision is proudly manufactured in Israel and could potentially be hailed as one of the finest non-military defense tech products to emerge from this renowned nation since the advent of the Slingerbag.

FAQ: WHAT IS BASELINE VISION?

The Baseline Cam is composed of 2 camera sensors and a computer, which detect, track, and analyze everything that happens on the court. The camera is operated through your smartphone. 

After downloading the free app, just launch a session and scan the QR code on the back of the camera. Your app will directly connect to the camera and you’ll be all set.

FAQ: HOW DOES MY PHONE CONNECT TO THE CAMERA?

The camera emits its own Wi-Fi signal, so you won't need an external Wi-Fi network on the court. The camera uses Wi-Fi Direct: a common, fast, and secure connection protocol for devices that require their own network.

FAQ: DOES THE CAMERA NEED TO SEE THE BOUNCE TO MAKE A CALL? IS IT IMAGE-BASED OR TRAJECTORY-BASED?

The camera calculates the whole 3D trajectory of the ball based on a combination of visual data, aerodynamic models, and additional information. While seeing the bounce can improve the accuracy of the call, it isn't necessary to produce an estimate.

FAQ: WILL THE CAMERA IDENTIFY A SERVE & CALL THE LINES CORRECTLY?
Yes. Serves are called as serves, and ground strokes as ground strokes.

Camera mounted on net post, smart phone operated

In late February, I had the opportunity to grab the Baseline Vision and secure a tennis court reservation for one hour. Prior to my outing, I ensured that the battery was fully charged, although I was aware that a single charge would provide ample power for four hours of gameplay. Additionally, I made certain to download the Baseline Vision app onto my iPhone.

Baseline Vision offers a comprehensive range of data-driven applications, including Gamified Drills, Performance Tracking, Video Replays, and Downloads. However, my focus for this hour was solely on testing the line calling and challenging functionalities. We can explore the other features in depth at a later time.

This video provides a comprehensive overview of the installation process, demonstrating the simplicity of installing the camera onto a netpost and operating it using a smartphone. The installation of the netpost mount and attachment of the camera can be completed in a matter of seconds.

Once the unit was recognized by the app, I proceeded to align the camera and balance the bubble on top. After a few more seconds, everything was set and I was ready to proceed. The camera itself emits a Wi-Fi signal for the smartphone to detect and establish communication. 

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The process is incredibly straightforward and gives a state-of-the-art experience. Additionally, there is no need to connect to a club's Wi-Fi network. 

I shot this video clip to give you an all around view of the product installed. The camera sits there, doesn't distract anyone, ready for action.

When I started serves and purposely hitting down the line, I noticed how the camera works. When a shot is good, a green light flashes. When it is not good, like an unforced error into the net, a red light flashes. When a shot is out, whether from a serve or ground stroke, the camera sends out an audible "Out." Very convenient and leaves no doubt in the players. 

This very short clip lets you hear the "Out" call.

The challenge function is super easy. Click on it and the last shot is being replayed so you clearly see where the ball landed. In fact, the camera stores the last five shots for recall.

The app says about the Line Calling & Challenging function: No more arguments or distractions. Get accurate real-time voice line-calling and 3D visualization for your tournaments or casual matches.

MY OBSERVATIONS

Overall: Very impressive. Big thumbs up! My expectations were low thinking you'd have to pay $100K per court (Hawk-Eye) to get accurate line calling done.

Package: Sturdy, secure packaging with a handy carrying case. Survived the shipment from 7,500 miles without a problem.

Camera: Looks like a well-made unit as can be expected from every technical product coming out of Israel. Installed it looks like it belongs on the net post.

Installation: Very easy and quick. Takes less than a minute to install the post mount and slide the camera in. I found the centering of the bubble to align the unit quite ingenious.

Baseline Vision App: Free to download. Since the camera emits its own Wi-Fi signal, it's not necessary to be on the Internet. After you scan the QR-Code on the camera, the app finds and identifies it and you're all set. Working the app is a peace of cake. Quite intuitive and self-explanatory.

Operation: Visual and audible feedback was very helpful throughout this test. They call it a "new augmented reality experience."

While I already liked the line-calling function, I look forward to testing other functions of Baseline Vision in the future. Like...

GAMIFIED DRILLS: "Choose your drill and we take care of the experience: light & sound feedback, scoreboards, rankings."

PERFORMANCE TRACKING: "Am I improving? What should I work on? Stop relying on gut feelings! Measure your speed, net clearance, ball placement, player position, and fitness data, and get to work!"

VIDEO REPLAYS & DOWNLOADS: "Replay your last drill with zoom, slow-motions, frame-by-frame, and adjust your technique. After the game, download your movies and re-live your practice's key moments. You're the star!"

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