Playing tennis on a smart court

December 4, 2015 by Sarah Bourquenoud, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Credit: © 2015 EPFL / Alain Herzog

Technis, an EPFL start-up, is bringing augmented reality to the tennis court. Their newly developed technology could be used for other sports in the future.

How would you like to play tennis on a connected that displays surface impacts, analyzes your game and offers interactive challenges to you and your opponent? That's just what Technis, an EPFL spin-off, has come up with, earning them the Swiss Startups Award 2015. "Our goal was to develop a useful tool for everyday use that didn't require the player to buy any special accessories," said Naïk Londono, one of the founders of Technis and a former pro player.

The company's technology, which is embedded in the court surface, does not just provide performance statistics for the players – such as foot impact and faults – it also brings to the court. Players can choose goals or challenges, such as hitting virtual targets on the court with the ball. They can also compare their game with their opponents or with the pros.

A low-tech sport

This is a small revolution in a sport where – apart from rackets and shoes – technological advances are few and far between. "Some players wear a connected wristband, but few of them outside the pro circuit have a chance to train on a court equipped with video cameras that allow them to trace the path the ball takes," said Londono. By embedding the technology directly in the court surface, Technis aims to provide a standard tool that all can use without having to buy additional accessories.

The EPFL start-up will run pilot tests on a court together with interested partners before marketing its product. Several clubs have already expressed an interest in Technis's product, which could also be used for other sporting activities in the future.

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