A perfect pump? This high-tech sports ball inflator finds early traction with MLS teams

A perfect pump? This high-tech sports ball inflator finds early traction with MLS teams

9:15am, 12th May, 2018
Former Sounders FC defender James Riley uses TorrX’s ball pump. (Photo via TorrX) TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Inflating a soccer ball or football with the exact amount of air doesn’t seem like a huge deal. But whether it was the controversy that arose from “” or the damage an overinflated soccer ball can have on a teenager’s head, accurate gauge pressure is actually quite important. That’s why is finding early traction with its high-tech ball pump that has a built-in gauge and LED screen, making it easy to quickly inflate or deflate a ball to a precise pounds per square inch (PSI) measurement. Customers from around the world at all levels of soccer, from Major League Soccer to NCAA to leagues in Europe, are using the pump. The Seattle-area startup is focusing initially on soccer, but basketball, volleyball, rugby, and water polo teams have purchased its product. The company has validation from athletes like , a former Seattle Sounders FC defender who is building a youth soccer coaching program. “I have seen a lot of products come and go during my college and MLS career, but I really believe TorrX is the pump of the future because it is so accurate, easy to use, and durable,” he said in an email. Former U.S. Olympian and World Cup hero , who is now an assistant coach with the Santa Clara women’s soccer team, also vouched for the pump, particularly with . “I absolutely love my TorrX because it confirms that the weight of the ball will be age appropriate and absolutely spot on,” she told GeekWire. “As a coach, and parent, having the proper air pressure in the ball reassures me that the players and my kids will be safe. Anything we can do to help lower the number of concussions, the better. If the weight is right, as advocates for the game and its players, we can feel good sending our kids out to play. And at the end of the day, the experience on the field should have them leaving the field better and happier than when they got there.” Tom and (Photo via TorrX) , a veteran entrepreneur and City of Kirkland councilmember, came up with the idea for Torrx with his co-creator Sally Otten. “The TorrX checks a number of boxes for the user,” he said in an email. “First, it was designed to virtually eliminate the stresses that lead to needle breakage. In fact, this was the primary problem that seeded the effort to create the TorrX. Second, the TorrX enables easy access to a new level of accuracy in ball sports. Now, there is really little excuse for a ball that is under or over inflated. Coaches/referees/league or match management can now become much more specific about what constitutes a perfectly inflated ball for their sport and be sure the standard is easily adhered to.” The pump can inflate 50 soccer balls on one charge. It designed to get better over time, with algorithms that learn how to get the PSI more and more accurate with each use. The pump is currently available on but TorrX is exploring other sales channels. The company is bootstrapped and employs less than ten people in the Seattle region. Highlights from the week in sports tech Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton . Mobile alerts helped my colleague Kurt Schlosser , but he also relied on a $150 per month cable subscription. Perhaps the NBA’s idea will find traction. Speaking of the Mariners, the only way fans can watch next week’s game against Texas on May 16 will be via Facebook. The game won’t even be on TV. It’s part of Facebook inked with the MLB. Retired NBA star Chris Bosh showed up at the launch of NASA’s Mars InSight lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California — GeekWire space and science editor Alan Boyle . Fornite has become a cultural phenomenon. Now the video game is being blamed for keeping pitcher David Price off the field. The NBA and Intel Capital a new collaboration. Topgolf continues to stay innovative, with Lyft, which will have designated pick-up and drop-off zones at the high-tech golf driving range facilities. ESPN inked a deal with UFC , ESPN+. Former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard , Rival. NFL rookie QB Sam Darnold to enhance film sessions. looks at how video and new tech is changing track and field. Can blockchain technology ? The inventor of the yellow first-down marker was into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Thanks for tuning in, everyone! — Taylor Soper