System Updates & Development News
by Martin Paul Gardiner
Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf
The GSA Golf range of golf 3D graphics software and electronic hardware is being updated with new features continuously.
New Features are being added and mods being made on a daily basis so please check here regularly for your free updates.
Note: GSA Golf is the only golf simulator company in the world to expose and explain it's methods and technical designs.
GSA Control Panel (CP) update V.188.8.131.52 - Windows 7 / 8 version
September 20 2014
Go here for CP Download and update instructions
Note: If you updating from version 7 of the CP to version 8 then download the new camera DLLs here place all DLL files in the same folder as the Control Panel exe file.
The new version 8 of the CP (for both Windows 7 & 8) requires the new camera capture software.
Download and run this camera installation program:
Download the camera capture install program here for Windows (7 or 8)
(Select USB cameras when promted)
CP API for OEMs If you want to interface your own game software with GSA Golf's camera systems then use this DLL
Click above image to download the full version of the GSA Golf Control Panel
Warning: The full version GSA Golf Control Panel is a huge 275 MB in size (even when zipped) so may take a while to download
Sales or Support ?
Due to the heavy work load on at the moment with development and fulfilling orders we may not be able to get to the phones.
If you have questions please e-mail and we will get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that we are closed on weekends
(we need this time for new developments and testing)
go here to see GSA Golf Business News
September 30 2014
Yes! Due to popular demand we've reintroduced our famous PX optical sensor series of hitting mats
Click on above images to read more about the PX1, PX2 and PX5 systems
September 29 2014
LX random pattern detection and matching
Software coding of the new ball random pattern detection method is now completed. Initial tests are working great.
LX users can now apply dots to a ball with a permanent black ink marker in any order whatsoever as long as at least 3 dots are visible to the camera no matter how the ball is placed on the tee or hitting position.
Dots should be applied within the dimples on the ball in order prevent smudging the impact screen.
September 27 2014
LX random pattern detection and matching
Currently the LX detects either a line / ball logo or a dot triangle on the ball to measure ball spin and spin axis.
However, any random pattern spherically printed on the ball could be detected and matched within the two frames which would simplify ball marking and increase accuracy.
Putting the dots or marks all around the ball saves you from having to bend down to align the ball logo to the camera for every shot.
Coding for this new random pattern detection and matching method should be completed this weekend.
September 26 2014
LX trigger mats
The LX trigger mat panels and IR LEDs have arrived so we can start shipping these together with the outstanding LX Pro orders next week
New test shot images are now published on the new LX Infinity page LX Infinity page
Bcam ball spin camera
New test shot images are now published on the Bcam page Bcam page
September 22 2014
ProX golf simulator software - source code!
We've had a lot of interest in the GSA Golf ProX software source code in past months so thought I'd include the latest news here.
World's first and only golf simulator 3D golf course rendering and game software source code available on the market!
Interested in designing your own golf simulator software?
The ProX golf simulator software took over 10 years to develop and is a great insight into 3D golf simulator graphic methods for developers.
Use the existing 19 golf courses or create any number of new golf courses.
Change or modify any functions or appearance to your liking. Once compiled, you can distribute the ProX executable programs completely free of any royalties or fees.
The ProX software source code is programmed in C and C++ using Visual Studio 2012.
The source code allows you to modify any of its functions and appearance in addition to interfacing to any club and ball tracking hardware that you have interface source code to.
3d terrain modeling with real time rendering
3d modeling and real time rendering
Ball trajectory physics and real time rendering
Fly with ball trajectory cameras
Ball trajectory tracing
3D moving sky domes
plus much much more.
Price just: $ 399.00
September 19 2014
LX Trigger mat testing
Testing the new LX Trigger mat yesterday showed that all the issues with mic triggers are eliminated. ie hitting fat or mic sensitivity problems. All shots from full drives to 6 inch putts are now detected regardless of hitting fat or not. The above image was taken using the trigger mat and shows how consistent the frame timing now is. i.e. frame 1 to frame 2 is 1.5 ms and frame 2 to frame 3 is 2 ms.
All LX Pro's now come with the trigger mat instead of a line scan camera. Existing customers can have their unit modified for the mat and get a free mat and reflex sensor if exchanging for the line scan camera.
Note: The new default setting for camera 2 trigger time delay is now 2 milli seconds instead of 3 ms.
CX1 ball path detection setup instructions
Click on above image or here to read the CX1 ball path detection setup instructions
All the new LX Infinity, LX Pro and CX1 features are now in this new version of the CP
September 17 2014
The above shows the new camera orientation required for the LX Infinity. i.e. the camera is rotated 90 degrees so that high launch angle shots are captured. Coding for this project went faster than expected so can go live tomorrow.
September 16 2014
A couple of small hurdles have to be overcome with the LX Infinity before we can start production.
1. The zoom lens won't focus correctly when the distance to the object is less than 7 feet. It's the same lens as we use on the Ccam club tracking camera but as this camera is mounted 9 or so feet overhead this issue hadn't arrived before. To counter this issue during the test phase, we just unscrewed the lens a couple of turns so the the lens was a touch further away from the camera sensor and then in focus. The lens like this thus loose so we have had to source lens shims in order to tighten things up again.
2. Zooming in on the ball to achieve a better level of detail resulted in a reduced FOV and consequently a reduced launch angle detection. i.e. balls with a launch angle greater than 35 degrees were no longer in the FOV. Due to a stroke of genius (on my part BTW - huh, hmm), we found we could increase the vertical FOV of the camera substantially simply by rotating the camera 90 degrees. The camera image is not square - it is oblong - and as we don't need the width anywhere near as much the height, this solved the problem. Problem now is, a number of rather complicated image processing routines have to be modified in order for them to function with the new orientation. Should be completed by the weekend though.
LX Reflex trigger
The new LX Reflex trigger boards arrived today. We built the first using new improved IR emitters and sensors. Works great. The board features two IR LED emitters and a sensor in the center. The LEDs and sensor have a small rubber tubing around them to prevent reflections from the hole in the mat which are hot glued into position. The electronics - comparator circuit and reference voltage - are on the LX main board.
September 14 2014
LX Infinity testing
Testing phase of the LX Infinity "Left and Right hand player combined" launch monitor is nearing completion now. Production should start within 10 days.
September 13 2014
Line scan camera
Amendments and additional line scan setup information has been published today as a result of testing the new CX1
GSA Golf moving up in the world
Above is a screen shot of page 1 of a "Golf Simulators" Google search done today.
Being consistently in number 4 position - above a lot of really big names in this industry - is even more astounding for us when we consider we do zero SEO. i.e. absolutely nothing. While others are spending vast sums to get to this position on page one.
Note: The Buyer's guide is not a golf simulator manufacturer so is not included in the ranking.
The number one position is held by a high-end golf simulator manufacturer with - it would seem at least - vast marketing and SEO budgets at their disposal. They make great products but in our opinion are not really number one. That, in our opinion, belongs to a company that starts with "A" - can't mention any names of course- but they seem to be slipping a bit in their SEO even though they have the best products on the market. Assuming you can afford the price tag.
And then we have the two rivals in the low cost golf simulator pad market. These guys sell tens of thousands of their products a month - at least that is what I have been told by people in the know - so GSA Golf probably won't get anywhere near them but we're hard on their heels now with our latest product lines.
Guess we're doing something right it would seem.
September 12 2014
New CX1 ball path detection method
Even though the CX1 features only 1 camera - usually only used to detect launch angle and ball speed -
ball azimuth ie. Ball path/direction can also be detected by measuring the width of the trace and comparing it to the trace width of a straight shot.
i.e. the trace width will be greater if the ball is traveling towards the camera and smaller if traveling away from the camera.
Click on above image or here to read more about the CX1 ball path detection method
This feature is available as of today's version of the CP
September 11 2014
We're carrying out the final tests on the LX Infinity at the moment. Test unit is in a carry case but production unit will be in panel casing as shown above right. Note that the LX Infinity is the same as the LX Pro but with zoom lenses and Xenon IR flash units instead of LEDs so that the unit can be placed up to 10 feet away from the player.
The LX Surround is actually just two LX Infinities together in a single elongated case. As such, the LX Surround's hardware is completed but there's still quite a lot of software to code which won't be complete until 2015. The LX Infinity can be converted to LX Surround.
September 10 2014
System data not being saved
As of the Windows 8 version of the CP we've had a number of reports that CP system data is not being saved. Thanks to crap Windows 8, what used to work perfectly, now fails on some PCs. That's only on some PCs of course. On others it works. Apparently only the Gods at Microsoft know why this is so we've changed the data folder to C:\Users\Public - which, according to all those in the know - will always work. If you are experiencing such problems then use today's version of the CP. It will first check for existing files in "C:\Users\Public" and if found, will read them. If not, the usual CP data folder will be used to read (i.e. you won't loose any of your settings) but after that data will be written and read from the Users/Public folder.
BTW. It's taken months to make all the changes to the CP for the Windows 8 version so I'm looking forward to all the surprises Windows 9 has in store when it is released later this year. After all, we've got nothing better to do.
September 5 2014
LX Line scan camera replaced with trigger mat
We've decided to replace the line scan camera in the LX with a FiberBuilt fairway grass trigger mat as testing and user feedback is strongly indicating that too many shots are not being detected with the mic triggers when striking the ball fat. Especially with wedge shots when players like to get under the ball for higher launch angles, the player tends to hit the grass fibers before the ball which will result in the cameras being triggered too early and the ball speed is either too low or no speed has been detected at all.
As the Line scan camera was only being used for putting we feel there'd be more value with a trigger mat that is guaranteed to detect all shots and most customers will require some kind of hitting mat anyway.
The LX can still be used without the trigger mat if desired- i.e. just using the mic triggers - and the sensor can mounted in most other hitting mats if the customer prefers not to use the FiberBuilt mat.
Sensors are available free of charge to current LX owners and the complete trigger mat is available for parts cost price of $120 plus shipping.
September 2 2014
LX Lite testing
Much testing done today with this product. Results will be published tomorrow.
LX Pro / LX Lite / LX Infinity
Improved spin axis detection when using balls with a logo or lettering instead of spin dot patterns.
DIY Trigger mat instructions
If you'd like to build your own trigger mat then here's an easy and inexpensive method: Tigger mat instructions
September 1 2014
Ball logos and markings
Tests are showing that the Srixon range ball with a line marking - the one we have been supplying with the LX - is not so suitable for measuring ball spin axis. For spin rate it's great, but the line is too long to capture spin axis as we need to see both ends of the line and one end of the line can too easily disappear from the FOV of the cameras.
For best results, we're now recommending balls similar to the "Pinnacle" or "Srixon" distance balls. These balls have a shorter logo and the number and other markings are red so are not seen by the gray scale cameras.
Here, a shot of the Srixon "Distance" ball with the LX showing the strong lettering being easily detected and the red ball number not visible.
ProX source code
The ProX software source code - for those that are interested in developing their own golf simulator software - has been successfully migrated from Visual C++ 6.0 to Visual Studio 2012
August 28 2014
LX-Lite vs LX Pro
I'm doing some comparison tests between the LX Lite and the LX Pro this week.
Results are published here: Lx Lite-vs-LX Pro
August 26 2014
Spin and spin axis image processing updated to work with only partial triangle patterns. i.e. if only part of the triangle dot pattern is visible.
Bug: The new factory defaults scaling factor was multiplied by 10. This ensured that no ball launches would occur as the calculated speed would always be over the max of 200 mph. Now fixed with this version.
LX-Pro plug & play
The only aspect of the LX Pro preventing it to be truly plug & play are the line scan and mic sensitivity dials on the back of the unit. i.e. if these aren't set correctly then shots will not be undetected.
I'll thus be replacing this dials with internal 10 turn trimmers in future that are factory preset and not user adjustable - at least not without a small fine screw driver inserted into a small hole.
The LX Pro features two mic triggers and a line scan camera trigger. The idea with the dual mics is that one is set with less sensitivity to only detect full to half shots and the other set with more sensitivity to detect chips. The line scan camera is basically only used to detect putts where the club to ball impact sound level is too low for the mics.
With the new 10 turn trimmers it is possible to set the sensitivity of the mics so high that even most putts (at least 50%) would also be detected. We could thus produce a version of the LX Pro without the line scan camera at a lower price. I'll be testing this version next week.
August 25 2014
I've just returned from vacation (Utah and Alaska cruise) and have around 150 e-mails to reply to, so if you have written please allow a day or two for me to get back to you.
LX Pro kit assembly instructions with photos now complete.
August 24 2014
A number of new features are available in this new version of the Control Panel including " image border tags" that allow easier border selection with mouse drag.
LX Pro and other product installation instructions on this web site have been updated and improved.
LX Pro Kit assembly instructions are nearing completion. Just the photos are missing.
August 11 2014
LX Pro kit - $1,899
Having spent most of the weekend working on simplifying production methods of the LX Pro and having successfully simplified the assembly to such a great extent, I've revamped the idea of an LX Pro kit for those on a tighter budget.
The kit will just require a number of holes to be drilled into the casing but - as all the circuit boards are all pre-assembled and tested - final assembly is just a matter of a few screws, cable connectors and lens focusing.
The LX Pro kit - which will be available in September - is priced at $1,799. A $1,200 saving on the normal price.
August 8 2014
LX Pro stand angle
Testing today revealed that it is possible that very low launch angle shots may not always be detected.
The reason for this is that the ball is not fully in the beam of the LED flashes when launch angles are below a few degrees and thus not illuminated sufficiently for the image processing to find the ball.
The simple fix for this is to tilt the LX Pro unit a couple of degrees further forward so that the IR light beam is pointing further down. At present the rubber feet at the back of the unit set the stand angle at nearly 90 degrees. Adding a couple of 3 mm or 1/8 inch pads to the underside of the rubber feet tilts the unit a couple of degrees further down and the problem is solved.
You can use thick rubber washers screwed into the LX's existing rubber feet to increase tilt.
LX Pro nearly plug and play
With the new factory setup settings in today's CP (V 184.108.40.206) we're nearly to the point of plug and play for the LX Pro. The only thing remaining is the sensitivity settings of the line scan camera (used just for putting) and the microphone trigger.
I'll be making videos of the LX Pro in live action shortly - maybe this weekend - that show that all shots are detected from full drives to 6 inch putts.
LX Spin Dot balls
I've programmed the CP to recognize the above dot pattern on golf balls used with the LX launch monitors.
The two dots close together are 3/16 (5mm) apart and the other 3/8 (10 mm) at right angles to the middle dot apart.
If you would like to make your own spin dot balls that eliminates the requirement to bend down and align a line or logo marking on the ball to the camera every time you tee up, then we have a ball marking kit available.
August 7 2014
LX Pro - Putting
When putting with the LX Pro it was noticed that the ball images were darker than with a normal shot and thus not always being detected. The ball images are darker because the ball is rolling low on the ground and not directly in the main beam of the IR LED flashes.
To compensate for this, a separate camera gain setting for putting has been added to the system. The default putting gain is 20 db.
To set, go to the camera window in the CP, press the "P" on the keyboard to go into putting mode and increase the gain to 20 db or as desired.
CP factory settings
If you now right click on the Defaults button in the camera windows, then hard coded factory settings will be applied to the various camera settings.
August 3 2014
The LX Infinity is also available in carry case format (image left) as well as wall mount casings (image right)
The carry case is a third larger than the LX Pro case (now 14 * 12 *4 inches) and the zoom lenses protrude but can be unscrewed for transport.
LX Pro to LX Infinity conversion kit
If you already have an LX Pro or purchase one and then later want to upgrade to the LX Infinity, then we'll have a conversion kit available soon.
The conversion kit can also be used to convert V and H cams to a LX Infinity.
August 2 2014
LX Pro B mod
If you have purchased a GSA Golf LX Pro before June 2014, there is a free hardware modification available.
Go to LX Pro B Mod at the bottom of the ProX Installation page for details.
Switching a Bcam to a Ccam and vice versa
The Bcam ball spin camera can be switched to a Ccam club tracking camera and vice versa with a click of a button.
If you already have a Ccam and would like to try the Bcam, a conversion kit will be required as the Bcam uses a Xenon flash.
The kit includes a new casing with electronics, IR Xenon flash and power supply. The kit will be available in September and will cost around $300.
LX Pro II hold up
Unfortunately we've run in a rather fundamental problem with the LX Pro II that has forced development and production to be put on hold for the moment.
The problem being: in order to detect all shots from zero to 60 degrees for both left and right handed players, the camera lens has to have such a wide FOV that we can't achieve the level of detail required in the ball image to accurately measure ball spin axis. i.e the ball image is too small and we can't zoom in without losing a great deal of launch angle range.
As it's getting rather late in the year now and we have the new Bcam and LX Infinity to get into production, we've decide to place this development on hold until we have more time to deal with it.
After all, we want to be at the PGA Show in Orlando finally this year and the clock is ticking and I fear I'll be bogged down with this issue and won't make it.
August 1 2014
New product development completed for Fall 2014 / Winter 2015
Hi all! Martin here.
I'm pleased to announce that all new major product development for the coming golf simulator season has been completed and we will be ready to go into production of all the new products as of this coming September.
The new products are the Bcam ball spin camera and the LX Infinity and LX Infinity Quad series ball spin launch monitors. LX Pro II has been put on ice for the moment as we don't think it will compete with the LX Infinity very easily.
Having worked nearly 10 years on all the product developments - effectively without a break - I'll be off for a small vacation as of the 13th of this month till the 23rd of August. I'll still be keeping in contact with any via email though.
July 31 2014
Bcam - ball spin camera
The slow motion golf impact videos from the MMU Biomechanics department on YouTube (click above image) where used to confirm that the ball spin rotation within the first 5 to 7cm of flight is visible to the Bcam camera when mounted overhead and that this first part of the spin is consistent and can be used to calculate the spin rate in rpm.
July 30 2014
Bcam - ball spin camera
The new software for the Bcam ball spin camera has been completed with this new version of the CP.
Click above image to read more about the Bcam