Former Orlando Magic player new innovation director for basketball smartwatch app
This article is republished with the kind permission of Brianna Goldberg and our friends at U of T News.
UTEST company Onyx Motion has partnered with NBA shooting guard Ben Gordon to raise the calibre of digital basketball coaching offered by the company’s first-of-its-kind technology, a smartwatch app that offers on-court skills guidance. The company announced Gordon’s role in helping to further develop the app, called Swish, on July 8 when launching their Indiegogo campaign.
“We’re hoping to build a motion marketplace — a library of data, moves and audio tips from pro players,” said Onyx Motion co-founder and CEO Marissa Wu.
Swish uses smartwatch motion sensors to analyze athlete techniques and offer straightforward tips on how a player can improve.
“The Swish technology is bringing users closer to their favourite basketball player by giving them the opportunity to learn from them,” said Gordon. “I’m excited to work with the team on the further development of this one-of-a-kind experience and help players at any level improve their game.”
The company founded by Wu has developed quickly. Beginning with the Next 36 entrepreneurship development program, it progressed to a start-up, receiving support through the University of Toronto Early Stage Technology (UTEST) accelerator (offered jointly by MaRS Innovation) and winning a spot on CBC’s Next Gen Den.
Now, Wu says with its partnership with an award-winning NBA player and an Indiegogo campaign, the company’s concept of a basketball coaching app has grown into much more.
“Here at Onyx Motion, we’re building the next generation of AI for sports coaching,” said Wu. “Swish allows mobile devices to break into physical interaction to a point where it can tell you what to do to get better. Our goal was to create a health and fitness device that would give personal recommendations, not just churn out numbers.”
She said the Swish app is only the first part of Onyx Motion’s plan to move into other sports and industries where kinaesthetic learning is key. Basketball is only the first shot.
Wu drew on her undergraduate-developed knowledge of biomechanical modelling of the human body in translating accelerometer data into actual movements. “We built it pretty much from scratch, so there isn’t a lot to compare it with,” she said. “We’re excited to learn from the experience of people using it, and to move forward with making it that much better.”
And to other aspiring entrepreneurs, she offers some already hard-won advice: “Know why you’re doing it because you will have to persevere through lots of up and downs.”