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Page 22


www.us-tech.com Slam-Dunk for ShotTracker with


East/West Assembly and Glenbrook X-ray W


By Kathryn Cramer


ith five seconds to go and down two points, the trailing team’s center in-bounds the ball at the far end of the court and passes


it to the guard, who has to dribble more than 70 feet to attempt the winning shot. And that’s exact- ly what he does to launch the three-pointer and win the game! As the arena erupts in classic March Madness


chaos, the announcer shouts over the raucous crowd that the guard traveled at the blazing rate of “more than 14 feet per second” down the court. But, wait — how did the announcer know the play- er’s speed? And, how did he know so quickly? The answer lies in an inconspicuous device


known as the Anchor, mounted in the rafters of the arena. It receives RF signals from tiny sensor chips embedded in the basketball and in each player’s uniform, transmits those signals to a cloud-based software system and then to a statistician’s com- puter, supporting the timely commentary that ded- icated fans have come to expect.


“Statistics Amplified” For the teams and their coaches, the system


known as ShotTracker provides even more valu- able information on a daily basis. Picture a prac- tice session, with the entire team out on the gym floor, all shooting baskets in rapid-fire succession: how can even the most experienced coach track in- dividual actions of 15 players using 12 basketballs across 6 hoops? ShotTracker provides the answer in real time.


The system displays each player’s statistics and activity on a tablet, with tabs for advanced shot charts, ball movement and optimal lineup analy- sis, and a customizable box score displaying more than 70 different statistics. This is part of the growing analytics move-


ment in professional and collegiate sports, which uses statistics to assess individual players and im- prove a team’s performance. Coaches have come to rely on ShotTracker to document each player’s ac- tivity and, through an online dashboard, to com- pare their team’s performance against other teams, anonymously, in the league. “It’s statistics amplified,” says Andy Salo, pres-


ident and CEO of East/West Manufacturing, a full- service EMS company based in Austin, Texas.


lated with QFNs and BGAs —some so small they are hard to see with the naked eye — powers the ceiling- mounted Anchor that transmits data from the bas- ketball and the players to the cloud-based system. Assembling the Anchor’s board is just one of


the many services that East/West provides to Shot- Tracker and to all its customers. From its start as a firm offering prototyping and NPIs, East/West has grown rapidly to deliver a full range of services. The company offers parts procurement and works with design engineers at the DFM stage through proto- typing, NPI, assembly, programming, testing, me- chanical assembly, and drop shipping. For ShotTracker, as an example, East/West


assembles two PCBs — one for the Anchor and an- other for the charger that powers up the sensor chip embedded in the basketball. For both PCBs, East/West also programs, tests, performs final as- sembly and box build, and then ships the finished products to ShotTracker’s distributors.


The Value of Prototyping “Having prototyping as part of our DNA


East/West’s operators use Glenbrook’s Jewel Box X-ray system to inspect the integrity of solder pads underneath components.


East/West assembles the PCBs embedded in Anchor, a critical component of the ShotTracker system. The complex, double-sided PCB, densely popu-


makes us more valuable to our customers from the start,” explains Salo. “We can give feedback to the design engineers, asking the critical question: is this item manufacturable?” Then, as products move through each stage and into production runs of up to 50,000 units, East/West provides the ex- panded range of services needed to function as “a third-party logistics company, vertically integrated around our core focus.” Among other products for which the company


produces PCBs is a smartwatch for seniors that tracks functions such as the wearer’s heartbeat and medication schedule and can send messages to a relative or other party if an issue arises. Yet an-


Continued on page 24


March, 2020


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