Ever watch your favorite sports team’s season go down the drain due to injuries? What if I told you a video-editing app for iPad could someday be the reason why your team wins a championship? That’s just what Spark Motion Pro could do, if Dave Gottfeld has his way.
See, what Spark Motion Pro does functionally is to allow its users to shoot videos, then easily annotate them and add commentary. In this case the annotations can include things like stopwatches, a ruler to measure lengths of objects, set to the scale of a control object, an angle measurement tool, and even transparent overlays of another video. Users can easily import videos, rearrange clips, and add their commentary to them, then uploading them to a cloud-based service for others to view. It’s all functionality that – by itself – is perhaps technically solid, but not necessarily revolutionary in and of itself.
But see, sometimes the power of an app is not so much in what it does, but what it allows the user to do. And what it allows trainers and physicians to do is to be able to easily capture video of someone they’re working with, say, an athlete recovering from a knee injury, as Gottfeld demoed to me when I spoke to him. When one client he worked with who suffered an ACL injury, he was able to show using the app’s grid and transparent overlay how a one-leg balance test showed that the person’s non-injured leg was having balance issues during their recovery with the other leg. Using Spark Motion, Gottfeld could easily quantify to his client using the video overlay of the exact problem.
Baseball and golf are two extremely mechanical sports, and Spark Motion is perfect for them. The angle overlay can help a golfer analyze where the angle of their swing is, informing them of what they need to focus on to improve. Gottfeld in particular showed how he was able to detect how a certain hip movement was causing knee stress in a baseball batter’s swing. Pitchers are an obvious application for this app: delivery flaws could be detected and improvement over time could be shown as well.
Spark Motion Pro takes full advantage of the convenience of modern technology: as an iPad app, this means that its users can easily shoot and analyze video from wherever. The app’s subscription service comes with cloud storage (which is HIPAA compliant for patient confidentiality) that can allow trainers and practitioners to work remotely with clients who can shoot and upload their own video, which theSpark Motion user can then provide their analysis of and send back. Users can even link up a PayPal account and charge for their services in the app on a per-video basis. This can happen anywhere wi-fi is available.
The more powerful hardware of the latest iOS devices only makes Spark Motion better: the iPad Air can render video with annotations much faster than previous generations, at what Gottfeld reports as a 1:1 ratio of video time to rendering time. Videos can be imported from sources besides the iPad, so video could be shot with a high-end camera on a stable setup, for example. Or for those who want to shoot high framerate video with the iPhone 5s, that is compatible with Spark Motion Pro as well. Perhaps those additional frames could reveal information in the body’s movements that could help prevent a catastrophic injury, or provide dramatic performance improvements.
The app has tons of potential, but it’s already in use in some cases: Gottfeld reports working with the New England Patriots using Spark Motion, and former NFL kicker Matt Stover helps train kickers using the app. And at the recent MLB Winter Meetings, among the headlines of big deals and big fights, Gottfeld got to meet with all the teams in a speed-pitching scenario, and several teams were reportedly interested in the app. They might just be the ones that keep their players healthy on the field, or get the injured ones back sooner, and win more games.
Everyone’s gaga for catching and training monsters. It’s a shockingly popular genre, which makes its overall lack of representation on the App Store all the more odd. That’s not so say that no one’s ever tried, but there just aren’t that many choices at the moment. Greyhound Games, with help from ZigZaGame, is looking to do their part by releasing Dragon Island.
The overall concept of Dragon Island is as expected: capture monsters, level-up monsters, evolve and combine monsters to create new monsters and fight other monsters with said monsters. What sets it apart from the scant few other games in the genre on iOS is the use of actual time instead of energy or mana, setting a specific lineup for monsters (think “batting order”), a sprawling map full of places to explore and dungeons. The dungeons are of particular note because they’re not only randomly-generated, but can also contain special monsters, treasures, their own towns and even other dungeons.
Currently the game is about 75% complete (according to the developer), and they’re looking to the community to take it well beyond the 100% mark. They’ve set up a Kickstarter page to raise funds so that they can include more of, well, everything. More monsters, more dungeons, more items and more game in general.
What’s there is already looking really good (placeholder graphics notwithstanding). I’m particularly fond of the monster illustrations. And the thought of Roguelike dungeons in a monster-collecting rpg has me salivating something fierce. If anyone echoes my sentiment, then I urge them to look into Dragon Island. Don’t forget to take a gander at the handful of monster images (20+ out of 200) in the gallery below, either. Also, “LOL” at Unhappy Bird.
Nick Evans is a well known Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in bodybuilding. He’s received kudos from the editor of MuscleMag, IronMan Magazine and from other specialized bodybuilding websites and magazines. He has written the book, Men’s Body Sculpting as well as several DVDs on the subject.
Now he’s bringing his expertise to the iOS app world, with the new app, Men’s Body Sculpting: Muscle Mass Generator. The app details his specific program for the development of lean muscle mass, including specific exercises and nutritional information in the form of a nutrition calculator, in which users can enter their own personal data and receive specific suggestions for what and how much to eat while training. In addition, the app uses the iOS device camera to help prospective muscle-men and women create a photographic log of their progress. Measurements can be set to either metric or Imperial measures, as well.
Men’s Body Sculpting: Muscle Mass Generator can be used by folks training for a specific sport as well as those just wishing to change their body’s muscular makeup, and is available now for $2.99 in the App Store.
“Now that we have covered the vast majority of the traditional workout app categories: running, strength training, various sports, I think it’s time to bring it all together.”
After voracious applause, he goes on. “What we need is a way to pump music into athletes ears. Loud music. We’ll let them choose playlists and songs, and if they are good we’ll even let them hit the random button!”
After a bit of rumbling amongst the crowd, a brave administrative assistant clears his throat. “Uh, boss, doesn’t the iPhone do that already?”
After a momentary pause in thought he counters with, “No, you imbecile, not like we’ll do it! We’ll have professional male athletes give 10 second motivational speeches to really get their hearts racing. Would Adrian Peterson quit on a race? Hell no!” The boss then pushes his “deploy” button, sending a reluctant Tiger Woods out to hit the interrupting assistant with a failed prototype club.
With a spark of motivation and an ounce of fear, the app team at Nike then gets to work, creating the slickest workout music platform that they could come up with. Using the playlists that are built into iTunes, the Nike BOOM app launches nuclear songs at you with such speed that you’ll have to catch your breath… that is if you were breathing (you’re training so hard that you are unconscious, right?). At the beginning of your workout, and intermittently throughout, you’ll also get a little motivational speech by seemingly interested athletes telling you to “pick up the pace” and that “the season is on the line.”
If little sprinkles of motivation get you though, there’s nothing out there better than Nike BOOM. Now get off your butt and go train! It’s a real shame Rex Ryan doesn’t dish out the in-app motivation.
I believe that the old sport adage goes that, “practice makes perfect.” The funny part was that all of my coaches used to say that this phrase was a load of crap. They instead instilled in my impressionable young mind that “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” At the time, the difference seemed minimal at best, but now I can completely see what they meant. If you practice with bad fundamentals, no matter what the sport, you will replicate the same poor fundamentals during actual competition. I guess that explains my entire high school sporting career in a nutshell!
Though I was never much of a tennis player, I can understand that each sport has a defined skillset that needs to be honed at a high level. Whether it be a solid drop shot or nailing your lines properly, it stands to reason that if you learn these moves at a high level, you stand a chance at being successful. But how would you track all of the information necessary to know if you are improving? This is where the new app TennisProfiler steps in, allowing a watchful parent or coach to keep track of your detailed statistics, one swing at a time. Here are some of the highlights:
Enter practice records to the database.
Able to track all major strokes such as Drop shot, Groundstroke, Lob, Overhead, Return Serve, Serve and Volley;
Provide some suggestions on how to practice each of these strokes;
Plot the Daily, Monthly, or Yearly records of the strokes for certain period of time;
Consolidate all the records in the database such that there will be only one record for one stroke type with the same features (such as serve type, court position, etc) per day;
Email the database to keep a backup of the practice records.
At the risk of sounding like a kiss-up, this really sounds like it could be a coach or over-ambitious parent’s dream. This is the kind of high detail feedback that could very well define the difference between a good and a great athlete. However, if you are a parent, do yourself a favor and don’t try to coach your child’s serve from the sidelines. Rumor has it, that kind of behavior can embarrass your child. Just don’t say that we didn’t warn you.
Golf is one of those wonderfully frustrating sports that can take you from glee to tears – or elation to frustration – in a matter of a single stroke. Though I am a crummy golfer at best, I have seen many a man become victim to the course and eventually their own psyche. That is the beauty of the sport; many would say it is just as much mental as it is physical, because it is based on perfecting a set of motions and duplicating them consistently, time after time. This is why I am such a mediocre golfer, my complete and total lack of consistency and a level of focus that rivals a chipmunk.
So what can you do to improve bad form or lack of training? While some would sink immense amounts of time and absurd volumes of money on lessons with a golf pro, I don’t make enough money for that to seem even remotely feasible. Fortunately, the new app iSlice will help you perfect your form either on and off the links, no down payment required. The software is so effective that it has even landed a pseudo-celebrity endorsement!
“Duncan is one of the best young coaches in Australia, he has had great success teaching golfers of all abilities and now brings this expertise to the iPhone to help fix your slice. The most critical component for teaching success is for the student to be able to feel the correct moves, by practicing with your iPhone you will finally know what the Pros feel like” — Neil Simpson, Head Professional and Coach to US PGA Tour Player Nick O’Hern
Combining both the instructional videos included with the app and the tools that the software provides, you will be making a dramatic step towards improving your game exponentially. I must say that a product like this might make me consider going out for a few rounds in the spring, well as long as I can practice with iSlice until then. Unfortunately there isn’t an automatic mulligan app, because it would take something ridiculously expensive to undo the massive amount of suck that my game possess.
I’ll leave you with a sample of one of the video tutorials. Do you think something like this could work for you?