VF Corporation

VF Corporation

Swing IQ: unlocking body mechanics for better batting

Context

Fast, coordinated movements are critical to success in sports such as baseball and yet, by definition, are very difficult to see. That can make it hard for athletes to improve: why wasn’t your last swing as good as your first? Should you focus on your shoulder timing, or your hip action? Improving at sports often requires you to quickly connect the objective outcome of a movement with the subjective feel of doing it. Without a skilled coach, there are few ways to do this. Swing IQ, the first instrumented baseball shirt that provides real-time feedback on body mechanics, changes that.

Approach

Innovia’s involvement stretched from the birth of the original concept, through to producing the first working prototype. The idea originated at a workshop that Innovia designed and facilitated for VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel companies. Forty participants, drawn from academia, VF’s partners, and its brands worked to create visions of the future of apparel, and competed for prizes – Innovia would build prototypes of their ideas. Amongst the winners was the idea that would become Swing IQ.
To bring it to life, Innovia worked with baseball players to analyse their movements, drawing inspiration from other sports where precision and body mechanics are critical, such as the martial arts. We identified where the sensors should be placed to best capture the movement, determined how to present the results clearly and intuitively, and then wrapped them in an easy-to-use interface.

Impact

We coded, soldered and sewed together a fully functional system that showed the potential of the concept, and exhibited it at a major VF fair involving around 200 executives from across VF's business and brands. After several years of development, the final product was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as a collaboration between Intel and VF’s Majestic brand, the exclusive on-field apparel partner for Major League Baseball®.

Communication of data to the players in a clear and easy-to-use interface.

Promotional material from the launch by Majestic.