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On the Hot Seat

Sports app developer puts coach in your pocket

Krishna Ramchandran says of his mobile app: It’s “like having a personal coach in the palm of your hand.’’

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

Krishna Ramchandran says of his mobile app: It’s “like having a personal coach in the palm of your hand.’’

Like most avid golfers, Krishna Ramchandran is always trying to improve his game. But instead of just hitting the driving range, Ramchandran, a computer engineer, began thinking about how to create technology that changes the way people learn sports.

Over time, he built a smartphone app that allowed him to video record his golf swing and watch it in precise slow motion — and collaborate with other golfers to get tips for improvement. After selling his product through Apple’s App Store and finding that people used it for other sports such as tennis, baseball, swimming, and gymnastics, he launched the Boston tech start-up Ubersense in 2011.

What’s the 30-second elevator speech for Ubersense?

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It’s a mobile app that’s like having a personal coach in the palm of your hand, using state-of-the-art video coaching tools to help athletes improve their performance.

Why are golfers so quickly adopting swing analysis apps?

Golfers are inquisitive and also a bit geeky, always looking for new aids, whether a new club or new apps. Being able to analyze a swing’s sequence can help coordinate movements, like head positioning, to improve technique.

What are some sports that have unique challenges when it comes to recording video analysis?

The US rowing team used our app to prepare for the Olympics. The biggest challenge was that the team and coach were on separate boats, so it was hard to focus on the individual rowers.

What sports are using Ubersense that you didn’t expect?

I don’t think you’d call this a sport, but some masseuses use Ubersense to teach students the proper hand movements. We also have a relationship with the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation; this use is mostly around the start, which is one of the most technical parts.

How does using this app change the feedback that coaches can give?

Baseball coaches, for example, can compare two videos, perhaps an amateur player versus a pro, and use lines to pinpoint exactly what angle the athlete should be at when they take a swing.

Is the Apple Store the new version of the American Dream?

The mobile app stores offer excellent platforms to reach millions of users. It was easier to make money in the earlier days. The competition nowadays is fierce, and apps have to be of very high quality in order to be successful.

East Coast versus West Coast for app development?

It really doesn’t matter as long as one is able to surround oneself with top-notch talent. The West Coast has more such people to choose from, which is an advantage. The East Coast has equally talented people, and I would say that it’s a more tight-knit and collaborative community.

Your favorite app outside of Ubersense?

Flipboard — it aggregates all of the news and information in an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at cindy@cindyatoji.com
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