By Brittany Rosen
“I always used to suck at gym and was always at the bottom of my class. If I just had someone to coach me,” said Marissa Wu, co-founder and CEO of Onyx Motion.
Several years later, she and a few others created their app, Swish, which was a part of the DMZ.
Swish is a smartwatch app by Onyx Motion that acts as a virtual basketball coach for users. The app, according to Onyx Motion’s website, uses customized coaching based on “past performance and machine learning” to help a variety of people with different skill levels.
Sensors in the smartwatch help the app calculate the info it needs for you to improve your game. By using data, videos, tips and modules from NBA players, there’s a chance that users will improve their basketball skills. Users can also compete with friends and complete challenges, all while gaining valuable professional insight from a selection of professional players.
The app has increasing support from the NBA, as Onyx Motion has Ben Gordon, former pro basketball player for Orlando Magic, as an advisor. He joined Onyx after the company pitched the idea to him, and showed his support by sponsoring their crowdfunding campaign for Swish. The campaign ended up surpassing its $10,000 target.
Swish became a part of the DMZ through a competition held in early 2015, in which the DMZ partnered with Rogers to find new developments for the sports world. The app made it to the final 10 of the competition.
Wu says the app currently has over 600 users.
Although anyone can use the app, Onyx Motion’s target demographics are younger people interested in tech and amateur basketball players.
According to Wu, the app is being promoted by making partnerships with different camps in Canada and the U.S., as well as the University of Toronto and NBA Fit camps.
Wu has been on Dragons’ Den where she made a deal with investor Michele Romanow, who agreed to a partnership only if Onyx Motion included golf coaching in their app.
She also mentioned the importance of Swish as a wearable rather than just a regular phone app.
She said that if Swish were to be a phone app, there would be no difference in comparison to other mobile apps. Wu describes the coaching as a “virtual reality experience” and “playing a video game, but in real life.”
They want to expand their coaching platform to include tennis and beer pong. Wu says the goal is to make a “platform for physical education” and incorporate “dance, music and physiotherapy.”
Swish is available on Android Wear and Apple Watch.