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New and Improved BallBOPPer Prototype 2023

New and Improved BallBOPPer Prototype 2023

The BallBOPPer prototype has been dramatically improved as a result of daily testing and user feedback. The prototype pictured here has important speed and accuracy improvements in: launching, roving, navigation and reloading.

One obvious difference from the 2022 prototype is that the BallBOPPer now comes in four separate "nestable" components: the Launcher, the Rover, the Reloader, and the Ball Bucket. This greatly improves portability, while also making it easier to use the Launcher by itself - for working off-court or doing skills training rather than "Patterns of Play". 

This picture shows the Launcher on the left, the Rover in the center (with Reloader attached), and the Ball Bucket on the right.

The BallBOPPer App has likewise continued to evolve. Most of the recent changes have been made in the Controller section of the App.

The Libraries, Catalogs and Community sections are relatively unchanged from the previous version, as shown in the BallBOPPer App Documentation

The Control page in the Controller section of the BallBOPPer app now displays the name of the court that you are currently training on.

If you have never used the BallBOPPer on this court before, then you will need to run the court Navigation routine by pressing the Navigate button. This gathers navigation data on the court, such as the GPS location of the court, the depth of the margins around the court, which sides have fences, and assures that the court is an ITF standard tennis court in good condition.

This data is saved under the name you assign. The next time you are training on that court, you do not have to run calibration again - the BallBOPPer will use the data previously gathered.

Pressing the "Ad Hoc Launcher" button on the Controller page will bring up the the Ad Hoc Launcher page. The "Ad Hoc Launcher" feature has all the same functionality as the Shot Designer in the Pattern Library, but makes it available for the launching of individual balls.

Pressing the "Ad Hoc Launch" button in the center of the screen will launch a ball from the selected location on the BallBOPPer side of the court (the top half of the screen), and bounce it on the selected spot on the player side of the court (the bottom half of the screen), with a particular spin and height above the net.

If you change the selected launch location, then the BallBOPPer will also Rove to the new launch location before launching the ball.

The Ad Hoc Launching feature was created for our testing purposes, to confirm the correct trajectory for individual balls, but it also makes it simpler for a coach to launch individual balls while working with a player on skills training (as opposed to the training of Patterns of Play).

The Voice Controller is now a standalone page with additional new voice control commands. The text box at the top of this screen will display what the BallBOPPer is hearing you say, as you say it. This helps pinpoint and correct pronunciation/comprehension issues.

The Voice Controller is really a great way to control the BallBOPPer using a bluetooth headset. We expect the capabilities of the Voice Controller to expand in future versions.

The Rover Controller page displays the court including the area outside the lines right up to the fences (the grey shaded zones). This allows you to instruct the BallBOPPer to move to a different position anywhere on the BallBOPPer's side of the court simply by tapping on the new position in the grid.

The Rover Controller page is another feature that was built for our testing purposes, but we think players and coaches will find it useful for moving the BallBOPPer quickly onto or off of the playing area, during and between training sessions.

Note: If you scroll through our older News posts, you will see photos of the 2021 and 2022 prototypes, allowing you to see how the prototype continues to evolve towards the first release. The most obvious improvements are in the Rover and Reloading systems, while the changes in the Launcher and Ball Bucket are primarily in the less obvious internal mechanisms that have been modified to improve their reliability and resilience for the launching of thousands of tennis balls over years of training sessions.

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