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Compact, Lightweight Precision Epson Sensors in Mizuno's Baseball Swing Analysis System

Mizuno Swing Tracer which is a system of swing analysis for baseball, fastpitch and softball
Photo: Mizuno

An analysis screen on a smartphone
Photo: Mizuno

In May 2015, Mizuno Corporation (Mizuno / Japan) launched a product in Japan called Swing Tracer. The product analyzes a baseball batter's swing by collecting swing data from sensors. Epson supplies the sensors to analyze swing and builds smartphone and tablet apps used with the product.

Coaches typically depend on personal experience to coach their players. Mizuno started developing the product to help establish training and coaching techniques based on scientific data, and not just on the senses. Measurement and analysis of a batter's swing requires sensors that can capture the complex and agile motion of the athlete with accurate and precise data. The strength of Epson's crystal device and semiconductor businesses allowed us to develop and manufacture highly compact sensors capable of measuring swing very precisely. After a comprehensive survey, Mizuno found that our technical expertise, production system, and more made us the ideal partner for its Swing Tracer business.

Epson sensors in the Swing Tracer measure ordinary velocity and angular velocity of the swing. Mizuno's original algorithm uses these measurements to analyze the swing trajectory scientifically, allowing coaches to coach more proficiently.

Epson will continue to roll out compact, lightweight precision products and related services using original sensing technology.

Customer comment

High Precision Sensors for an IT Revolution in Batting

Takeshi Naruo
Chief Researcher
Mechanical Engineering PhD
Research and Development Department,
MIZUNO Corporation

MIZUNO Corporation (Mizuno/ Japan) is expanding beyond developing and selling sporting goods. We offer services to scientifically support effective coaching and training, and do related research and development.

Batter swing analysis for baseball requires very tiny, lightweight precision sensors. Epson manufactures sensors that are a good fit for our conditions. These sensors allow us to measure and analyze eight swing factors that we identified in our R&D. The product Swing Tracer is the result.

Mizuno hopes to further develop Swing Tracer to offer new value and services to customers. We also hope to keep Epson as a valued partner as we work to offer scientific support in other areas.

Providing Easy-to-Follow Video Manuals

To provide Epson printer users with easy-to-understand guides for using their products, Epson began, in November 2013, uploading PC- and smartphone-accessible video manuals to video-sharing website YouTube™.

The screen for the Epson Video Manual channel

Although Epson strives to design printers that are easy to use even for first-timers, users sometimes have to refer to paper manuals to learn how to navigate their way through operations and use certain functions. Epson has found, however, that little things that cannot be completely explained in a paper manual can sometimes concern customers. First-time printer users are not the only ones susceptible. Even experienced users who are used to operating earlier Epson printers or printers from other companies can get stuck even after reading the manual because of difficulty in intuiting or imaging new operating procedures. The first aim of a video manual is to provide users with a vicarious experience. Users who first watch operations being performed in a video are likely to have an easier time understanding paper manuals.

Sample screenshots of a watch-and-learn video manual

We have heard from customers who have actually used Epson video manuals. Some say, for example, that they want verbal explanations instead of subtitles, or that they want us to show operations more slowly. Others have said that the video manuals are very easy to understand for seniors, and they encouraged us to more widely publicize the availability of these manuals.

Shinji Tanaka
Video manual producer

Shinji Tanaka, who is in charge of video manual production, says, "I'm really pleased to learn that customers are happy with these videos. More and more people are accessing the videos. Most calls to support centers are from middle-aged and older people, so I think we need to find ways to make it easier for these people to access the video manuals. We particularly want to enrich the content of the videos before the year-end holidays, when so many people send cards to family and friends, so that they can find answer questions they may have."

As of October 2014, Epson has uploaded 42 videos for users in Japan, and more than a dozen videos for overseas users.

You can access the Epson Video Manuals channel at the following link: New window

Employee Monitor Program

Inkjet printer evaluation

Epson has a monitor program in which employees and their family members can participate. Persons who register as monitors evaluate products not as employees but as customers. The objective is to identify ways to improve product usability.

In the 2014 fiscal year we had 744 registered monitors who evaluated 22 products from a variety of perspectives prior to market release. The monitors rated the products, which included printers, projectors, wearable products and more, in terms of operability, visibility, and other usability and development objectives. The information gleaned from the results is used to improve the products and user manuals.