A new “smart” baseball aims to get kids off the couch and outside to play.
The $99 Playfinity Backyard League gaming baseball has smarts inside that track stats and connects to a smartphone to play interactive games.
We tested it out with Hollywood producer and Little League Coach Scott Paskoff, who admits that getting kids outside to play can be a challenge.
“I think if the kids had it their way they would sit on the couch and play Roblox all day,” quipped Paskoff. “It essentially gamifies baseball practice, which for me as a coach, anytime you can gamify anything the kids respond to that.”
Paskoff tested the baseball with his son, Hudson.
The baseball has sensors and Bluetooth inside to connect with a smartphone to play various games.
“We really want to create future an active future for kids and we want to do this by combining sports with gaming,” said Pippa Boothman, CEO of Norway based Playfinity.
“There’s a lot of technology focused on excellence and performance – there’s nothing for the 98 percent who just want to have fun,” said Boothman.
To start, you need to assemble the ball, which involves inserting the battery and screwing in the center of the ball.
Then, you download the App, connect it to your phone and push a button on the ball to start.
The app has six mini games focusing on skills like hand eye coordination and speed.
The ball reports real time stats including speed, airtime, height and timing.
Paskoff liked how the games are fun but also reinforce real baseball skills.
“This fast throw game helps the kids learn to get the ball in their glove, transfer and throw,” said Paskoff.
While you play, the phone keeps score and motivates with audible coaching.
“I think what kids are going to like about it is that it keeps score… so they’ll be able to improve every time they play with it if they’re consistent with it… and they’ll also get to compete against their friends if their friends have it too,” said Paskoff.
The Playfinity ball is designed for kids 6 to 14. It can go 40,000 throws before you need to change the battery. There is one rule though, you can’t hit it with a bat.