Swupnil Sahai is the co-founder of SwingVision, the tennis performance-tracking iPhone app. The San Mateo-based company launched three years ago and so far, has more than 10,000 monthly users. The mobile A.I. platform generates stats, creates highlight reels, and even makes line calls with just a single smartphone.
SwingVision relies on the same technology used by Tesla where Sahai worked as an engineer. That’s when he came up with the idea of using computer vision technology to improve his tennis game. Sahai played for Saratoga High school, competed at the IM level at UC Berkeley, and currently competes for his 4.0 team in Cupertino.
Sahai says SwingVision seeks to democratize the pro sports experience for all athletes. The company is currently working with USTA to incorporate SwingVision into league matches. Plans are also in the works to expand SwingVision to other sports.
1.Where did you learn to play tennis?
My brother and I started playing when we were around 7 years old. We tried many sports like soccer and basketball, but tennis somehow stuck the most. My dad primarily taught us and we ended up playing on our high school team. I’m also a huge fan of the sport and have attended all of the grand slams in person!
2.How did you come up with the idea for SwingVision?
I was inspired by watching Wimbledon on ESPN. I loved all of the stats, graphics & instant replays they showed in the broadcasts and wanted a way to have that for my own game. All of the existing solutions were inaccessible, costing thousands of dollars with multiple cameras installed on the court. After working on Tesla’s Autopilot team to build A.I. algorithms for tracking moving objects, I finally had the confidence to build the solution myself.
3.How does SwingVision work?
You just have to prop up your phone with our patented phone mount, which is basically a selfie stick that fits in your tennis bag and extends in a couple seconds to hook on top of the fence. With a clear view of the court from behind the baseline, you’re good to start recording. Our A.I. processes your video using just the power of your device to generate stats like ball speed & shot placement in real-time, for all players on the court. If you have an Apple Watch, you can bookmark your favorite rallies or challenge line calls right from your wrist.
4.How does the average player benefit from using the app?
The biggest benefit is that you can watch your video without the time between points, so a 2 hour match can be reviewed in just 20 minutes. Our A.I. also generates TV-quality match highlights automatically, which is an incredible way to share those on-court moments with your friends or post on social media. Players also love tracking their progress over time with stats like accuracy, depth and speed. Early next year, our A.I. will start suggesting serve & return strategies so that players will know exactly how to win points against specific opponents. It’s going to completely change the game, set & match!
5.What interests and hobbies do you have off the court?
I love giving back to UC Berkeley, where my wife and I went for college. For the past three years I’ve been teaching Data 8, an intro data science course that now has over 2000 students and is the largest class in campus history! Aside from that, I love traveling and hiking. My wife and I just hiked the Inca Trail in Peru this summer for our honeymoon and we’re excited to do Patagonia next.