Opinions

Kickstarter Pick Of The Week: TorrX, Easily The Best Ball Pump You'll Ever Need

Kickstarter Pick of the Week is Vulcan Post’s weekly series where we share some of the most noteworthy and creative projects that pose to make positive improvements in our lives. Come across anything interesting on crowdfunding websites? Let us know at team@vulcanpost.com!

Pumping up a ball is the most (not counting warm-ups) time-consuming and boring part of being an athlete. It sometimes pulls a muscle, and the cringe-worthy noise made from the pump always makes our skin crawl. Who’d knew a mundane activity like this would result in us getting goosebumps?
Ciao, adios, game over. A couple from Seattle, Washington has put a stop to this pesky problem. After over eight months, Tom Neir and Sally Otten have finally gotten the kinks ironed out. (It’s currently live on Kickstarter, with 34 more days to go.) TorrX, the first ever smart ball pump, aims to “achieves your ideal ball pressure with the touch of a button.”
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Image Credit: TorrX

You can choose how it works. TorrX works both in manual and auto mode.

TorrX is designed with a plus and minus button to inflate and deflate the ball respectively — axing the need to conventionally pump it up and down entirely. For the auto mode, it sets the target pressure to achieve the exact pressure every time you top up a ball. The twist-and-slide and snug-contoured protective cap, located at the bottom of the smart ball pump, protects the needle.

One full charge of the smart ball pump is equal to fifty top-ups. TorrX is chargeable with any types of USB port and it takes about one and a half hour to fully recharge the lithium ion battery. Weighing 312 grams, it is water-resistant and built with a digital display that shows the current pressure in PSI or BAR.

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Image Credit: TorrX

As athletes, we played soccer, basketball and volleyball regularly and were always in need of a properly inflated ball. Finding a ball pump that was not broken — needle or pump — was the first hurdle. Too often the needle was bent or twisted beyond usefulness or the hose leaked so badly that the entire pump could not be used. — TorrX creators

Based on its cool description, it’s suffice to say that the TorrX is a staple for every athlete, coach, referee and parent. It works for all types of balls and even boat fenders. With this smart ball pump, we no longer have to tolerate the detestable pumping noise. The greatest thing it offers is that it keeps the needle safe.

The ease of the smart ball pump is one less thing for athletes to worry about. Both the creators raised several good points about TorrX: “No more squeezing the soccer ball. No more bouncing the basketball. No more bumping the volleyball. No more guessing.” Vulcan Post spoke to the creators of TorrX. Let’s dive in and see what they have to say about their wide ranging product.

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Co-creators Tom Neir and Sally Otten [Image Credit: TorrX]

I understand that TorrX can be used on various types of balls — even boat fenders. Out of curiosity, does it work on bicycle wheels?

Since you are in Singapore, let’s not forget rugby balls! We designed and engineered the TorrX specifically for sports balls. Balls require accuracy in the range of 0 to 15 PSI (0 to 1 BAR). Bike tires have a higher air pressure need – 25 PSI to 130 PSI. So that will have to be our next product!

What is the product lifecycle like?

The frustration with ball pumps has been routine for us since we were kids. As athletes, we played soccer, basketball and volleyball regularly and were always in need of a properly inflated ball. Finding a ball pump that was not broken — needle or pump — was the first hurdle. Too often the needle was bent or twisted beyond usefulness or the hose leaked so badly that the entire pump could not be used. Once one did find a working pump, the next challenge was to properly, and laboriously, inflate the ball. More often than not we ended up guessing whether or not the ball was right. No one carried a gauge or even had a clear idea what the proper PSI should be for a ball. We played many games with badly inflated balls and it damaged our enjoyment and performance.

Fast-forward to 2013 and we are parents. Our sons were experiencing, and by association we were again experiencing, the exact same frustration with ball pumps! Time to put a stop to the intergenerational waste of time and ball pressure inaccuracy! At least that is what we decided. Over the next few months we brainstormed off and on. The vision of a modern ball pump slowly expanded and turned into what you see now – the TorrX Smart Ball Pump.

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Image Credit: TorrX

I’m not much of an athlete, but I’m hugely impressed with TorrX. It eliminates the horrible pumping sound — which I loved! Is TorrX drop resistant?

It is nice that you noticed the noise issue. TorrX only emits about 60-65 decibels, roughly the equivalent of normal human conversation. That was tough to engineer. Yes, prototype units have been drop tested. They were dropped from one meter, and even though they are prototypes, they came through the test and still functioned.

That’s good to know. You spent over 18 months working on TorrX. What did you learnt from the experience?

Simple – nothing is a easy as it seems. We learn that very commonly. The technology and detail that needed to be engineered to ensure a reliable, durable, elegant, yet useful product is just astounding. And no detail is too small to deal with in a systematic and permanent manner.

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Image Credit: TorrX

I always ask this question to all Kickstarter creators when we have them over on Vulcan Post. How would you describe TorrX in one word?

Revolutionary – this tool will permanently change the way athletes, coaches, referees, and parents will interact with the ball.

If you are always frustrated with having sore arms after pumping, and cringe at the horrible sound made from the ball pump, you should head on down to Kickstarter to back TorrX, pronto.

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