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Smart soccer ball made in South Africa adds brains to the ball

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Maker Phathwa Senene is on a mission to make smart soccer balls that can help players get better at their game as well as making kicking the thing around more fun.

We recently got to have a go with a prototype version at a recent maker meetup and we’re impressed with what we’ve seen so far.

Senene started with a regular Nike ball and cut out one of the hexagons which make’s up the outside of the ball. To this he added a DFRobot CurieNano board before carefully sowing it back and making sure it was airtight.

Thanks to the board’s accelerometer and gyro, and an a connected app, the ball can relay how many “taps” a user does over Bluetooth. This can count the amount of times a ball is hit or kept in the air while juggling.

This is just the first feature of the ball with more to be added soon.

“There are additional features I want to add to the ball, such as speed and distance calculations. A really interesting feature is pattern matching. The ball can be used by a player practising certain drills with no cones. The ball will recognise whether the player has successfully achieved a certain drill,”  Senene  said, “I want to also create an app for the ball[ to] function like an international score board, people from all over the world will be compare their juggling scores.”

You can see the prototype in the image below. You may notice the black Alan Key at the bottom. Through an air-tight hole this is used to switch the electronics on and off, something we’re sure can be done with software down the road.

If this is your first time reading about Senene we highly suggest you check out our past stories on him. He created the Scova Fire Reporting Device and, most recently, helped give birth to a new kind of VR headset.

We’ll have more information about this talented individual, his smart soccer ball and his other inventions soon, so keep check back to makers.hxt for more.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of