KINEXON is the only tracking provider to offer sensor technology that can be integrated into official football & handball match balls. In real-time, positions and inertial data (impacts and spin rate) of the ball can be detected with accuracy down to the centimeter. Read more below:
Player and ball tracking from KINEXON has been successfully validated in the EPTS tests of the FIFA Quality Programme. As of July 2022, this makes KINEXON the world’s first technology provider with the title “FIFA Preferred Provider Live Player & Ball Tracking”. Learn more here.
Ball tracking refers to the recording of the position and tracking of all movements of the ball. KINEXON relies on a local positioning system (LPS) for this purpose.
The LPS is based on UWB technology and thus offers stable and centimeter-accurate real-time tracking data both indoors and outdoors. In addition to balls, players can also be tracked in real-time and their performance analyzed live.
For the digital recording of ball movements and positions, a UWB tracking sensor from KINEXON is integrated into the official match balls. Such connected balls are currently used in professional football and handball.
The data generated by this innovation is already helping coaches with performance or tactical analysis, media with live reporting and club media with marketing. Other applications — such as supporting referees — are also already possible.
Between an average of 12 and 24 network antennas (aka “anchors”) are permanently installed and wired around the field.
Inside the match ball, a 14 g light sensor is integrated that combines an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and an ultra-wideband sensor (UWB).
The ultra-wideband sensor (UWB) sends centimeter-accurate position data of the ball via triangulation up to 400 times per second.
The data is sent to the processor via the antennas or “anchors”. Within 20 ms, the processor calculates metrics such as speed, pass lengths, etc. and recognizes events such as shots, passes, touches and more.
Automated Data Output & Visualization
KINEXON offers two options to use the data:
1. The KINEXON Sports App displays all collected information in tabular form and offers options for customization of visuals.
2. Real-time or low-latency media interfaces allow the raw data streams (position, impact and spin rate) to be be broadcasted in real-time — be it for media enhancement, AR applications, officiating or any other fully or semi-automated use case.
In 2022, “Connected Ball Technology” became known as an application variant of KINEXON’s ball tracking, which was developed in cooperation with adidas and FIFA.
Here, the ball sensor from KINEXON is integrated inside the ball via a suspension system — developed and patented by adidas. You can read more about the application of Connected Ball Technology here.
Sensors are technical components that detect and measure physical or chemical properties. Basically, all sensors that are integrated into a ball can be called a “ball sensor.”
…there is a choice of different sensors for this, which record different data accordingly. Sensors can be used, for example, to record air pressure, humidity, position, movement, and much more.
…KINEXON uses a combination of ultra-wideband (UWB) and inertial measurement unit (IMU) for its ball sensors. This means that all movements and positions of the ball can be recorded and measured in real-time.
In 2022, connected football match balls with KINEXON sensor inside have been officially approved by FIFA. These are the first officially approved connected balls for official football games. What makes this ball sensor technology unique:
One big advantage of a sensor integrated into the ball is the data quality. This is because there are no disruptive factors that affect the optical tracking with the sensor. A second advantage is a latency of only 20 ms — which means for the human eye: real-time.
In theory, ball sensors from KINEXON can be integrated into every kind of ball. In practice, KINEXON works together with leading ball manufacturers to equip ball models of professional leagues with the sensor technology.
The important takeaway here is that the ball’s rolling and flight characteristics must not be altered in any way, nor must its weight and haptic sensation.
The following models of official footballs and handballs are currently available with a KINEXON tracking sensor:
The generic term“ball data” covers all the data that is captured by the ball’s integrated UWB and IMU sensors. At first, this is raw position data such as x, y and z coordinates.
With the help of algorithmic calculations by a processor, the data is converted into key sports science metrics.
Additionally, the IMU data delivers high-resolution data on the ball’s inertial data, such as spin rate and impact force. Metrics could be spin rate (unit: rpm), touch force (unit: G) and others.
Ball data can be used to digitize, measure, visualize and analyze the game in real-time. Examples include heat maps, movement patterns with and against the ball, speed measurements, and much more.
Want to deep-dive? Learn how Bayer 04 Leverkusen used ball-tracking in training!
In combination with player tracking, the measured physical load and athletic performance of players can be evaluated in the context of game situations. Some examples: How fast does a player run with the ball? How many players has he outplayed? How fast does he act in certain game situations?
Recommended: Have a look at our webinars!
The immediate availability and automatable processing of ball data enables synchronization with digital services, tools and platforms of all kinds. Clubs, leagues and sponsors thus receive the basis of data for use with statistics databases, live betting, football managers and more.
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Data on tackles, shots, passes, sprints, standards, etc. can not only be automatically recorded via a ball with a sensor, but also simultaneously visualized in the live broadcast or live stream. Ball speeds can be displayed via AR, distances can be measured live, passing routes can be traced, and much more.
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The reliable live measurement and recording of ball positions, movements and touches also meets officiating requirements. This also enables supportive use to clarify complex or ambiguous game situations.
Recommended: adidas launches official match ball with integrated KINEXON sensor
© DFL / Getty Images / Alexander Scheuber
Sports technology has always pursued the goal of measuring and digitizing all movements down to the smallest detail. With ball tracking, the playing equipment and thus the entire game can also be digitally mapped and analyzed. The possibilities for innovations such as NFTs, Metaverse, Immersive Sports Experiences, etc. are almost limitless.
Whether “iBall” from Derbystar/SELECT or match balls from other manufacturers: Ball tracking from KINEXON can be integrated in all footballs and handballs. Get to know our product incl. KINEXON Sports App now!
Want to learn how ball tracking is used in training? Have a look at our recent webinars: