Bluetooth Low Energy sensor converts any cricket bat into a "virtual coach"


StanceBeam Striker employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to wirelessly sync in-depth batting technique metrics to user’s smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that StanceBeam, a Bengaluru, India-based sports technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘StanceBeam Striker’. The product is a "plug and play" solution that attaches to any cricket bat handle via a custom bat mount and lock, immediately transforming it into a smart cricket bat providing live analysis of a player’s batting technique and performance.

Developed in partnership with Kookaburra Sports, StanceBeam Striker is described by the developers as the world’s first cricket bat sensor commercially launched in the international market for both recreational and professional cricketers.

The device features 9-axis MEMS sensors — a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, and 3-axis magnetometer — to capture the motion of the cricket bat in action and record in-depth batting data during a player’s practice session or innings in a competitive match. The device records a range of key performance metrics including back-lift and down-swing angle, speed at impact, as well as shot efficiency (how well the cricket shot was ‘timed’, with the ideal shot being one where the bat makes impact with the ball at maximum speed during the swing).

Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC acts as StanceBeam Striker’s core microcontroller thanks to the SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor which runs the device’s built-in sensors, while the Nordic SoC’s 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM are sufficient to easily store and record the sensor-captured data.

Throughout each batting session, the Nordic SoC transmits the recorded data with low latency via Bluetooth LE connectivity to StanceBeam’s Android- and iOS-compatible partner app on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone. The StanceBeam app then works as a ‘virtual coach’ allowing the user to monitor a session in real time, conduct a post-session review, produce a session summary, access improvement drills, review each shot ball by ball, recreate and analyze each shot in 3D, track ongoing progress, and compare results against friends, teammates, or even elite players. Results are also stored in the Cloud for future analysis.
The top driver for using the Nordic SoC was the stability of the Bluetooth LE stack.
Ishwinderpal Singh, StanceBeam

StanceBeam Striker uses a fully rechargeable 100mAh battery that provides battery life of approximately six hours of game play before recharging in a portable charging cradle, thanks in part to the low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines the Arm processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity. The nRF52832 is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides a clear separation between the RF protocol software and StanceBeam’s application code, simplifying the development and testing process and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying application code. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“While designing StanceBeam Striker and comparing various Bluetooth LE chipsets available in the market, we realized Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC was the best fit for the product due to its compact size, power consumption, and the CPU capabilities needed for this type of complex application,” says Ishwinderpal Singh, Co-Founder and CTO of StanceBeam.

“The top driver for using the Nordic SoC was the stability of the Bluetooth LE stack. We developed our own application code and Nordic’s SDK [Software Development Kit] was of great assistance in developing and prototyping the use cases we wanted to implement. The technical information, documentation, and reference designs provided by Nordic made life much easier for our designers.”