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Wearable Tech

Perfect your tennis swing with the Qlipp sensor

The Qlipp sensor attaches to your racket and is capable of tracking forehand and backhand swings -- and predicting the speed of your hits.

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The Qlipp gets attached to the strings of the racket and is capable of tracking how the racket is swung. Aloysius Low/CNET

SINGAPORE -- Aimed at enthusiastic tennis players who want to improve their game, the Qlipp sensor from Singapore-based startup 9 Degrees Freedom clips on to your racket like a string separator and tracks and transmits info to your smartphone on your swings even as the game is going on.

Inside this 8-gram (0.3-ounce) package is an accelerometer and gyroscope that connects to an app. Using the company's own algorithm, derived from "thousands of swings", it's capable of showing where in the swing the tennis ball was hit and how fast it was going. It can distinguish between forehand and backhand, and will also detect the "sweet spot" of the racket where you should be hitting.

"The accelerometer and gyroscope is of a more advanced kind compared to those found on smartwatches," said 9 Degrees Freedom CTO Tan Guo Wei, when asked whether it was possible to do the same with a smartwatch instead. "Also a smartwatch isn't able to track whether it's a forehand or backhand swing."

The Qlipp sensor has been in development for two years, and the idea was conceived when the CEO was playing tennis and wondered if it was possible to get more data about the game.

9 Degrees Freedom, which is exhibiting here at Echelon, a conference for Asia's startups, has plans to also see if it's possible to use the Qlipp for other sports, such as running, by attaching the sensor to a shoe. It will then be able to track how hard you're stepping to determine your pace. Other sports that the Qlipp sensor was tested on include boxing and fencing, though there are no official plans to support these just yet.

The Qlipp will hit crowd-funding site Indiegogo in the next few days, and there will be an early bird price of $79 -- this converts to around £50 or AU$100 -- with the regular price set at $129 (£80, AU$170). Check out the Qlipp website for more details on how to get one.