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Technical News

System Updates & Development News

by Martin Paul Gardiner

Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf

The GSA Golf range of golf club and ball tracking systems software and electronic hardware is being updated with new features continuously. 

New Features are being added and mods being made on nearly a daily basis so please check here regularly for your free updates.

Like all other forward thinking companies, GSA Golf continuously strives to improve their products at any given opportunity.

After all, in this day and age, if you're not moving forwards, you're moving backwards


GSA Control Panel (CP) update V.8.5.4.4 - Windows 7 / 8 / 10 version

December 7 2016

In case of issues you can manually install the CP update .exe file by following these instructions

Note: The above download is just an update for existing customers and not the full version Control Panel

!!! New - just in - super low price for TGC software !!!

Add "The Golf Club" base version 15 course plus driving range software for just $299


December 7 2016

V 8.5.4.4

Vertical camera calibration

In addition to the horizontal left/right ball path calibration, vertical calibration will also be required as the higher the ball flies past the camera the further away it will be and thus the shorter the trace will appear.

This in turn will result in lower ball speed measurements the higher the launch angle is.

For vertical calibration we'll need to know the distance forward the hitting position is from the camera in addition to the left/right distance the Vcam is from the center line.

Vertical calibration will be done for every 5 degrees of launch angle from various hitting positions.

LX ball speed

Improved ball speed measurements with LX Pro launch monitors


December 4 2016

V 8.5.4.0

Raw Speed

With the new speed calibration, raw speed - which should be speed before calibration and before any carry factors are added - was also being calibrated.

Club carry factors

Club carry factors can now be switched on or off and adjusted directly from the Vcam window.

If on then they are now used in the ball speed calculations within the Vcam window which was not the case before. i.e. club carry factors were previously only used in the final launch data calculations

Club can also be selected from the Vcam window now too.


November 25 2016

Part 3

PX2 circuit board error

A couple of PX2's were shipped last week with an error on the circuit board which can cause multiple resets to occur during the swing which in turn will cause club speeds to be measured too high.

The fix is quite simple but will probably require sending the mat back to us - on our shipping account - for us to fix.

PX2 circuit board error

The above scope image shows what the PX2 reset signal looked like before the correction mod. As you can see this is quite a mess with multiple trigger signals occurring within a single swing of the club

After the mod, the reset signal is a single, very clean and super fast. i.e. < 10 micro seconds for the duration of the club swing.

Just to recap, the PX2 reset signal comes from one or more of the 3 reset sensors at the rear of the mat. This signal resets the dual 16 bit club speed and face angle timers so that they start from zero at the first part of the swing.

As the club passes over the front row of sensors the timers are stopped. This leaves us with a swing speed time value that equates - using the known distance from the reset sensors to the front sensors and a known clock speed - to the club speed.

The difference between the two timers is used to calculate the club face angle.

As the club can be moving at well over 100mph, this reset signal must be very fast and only occur once during the swing.

If - for some reason - there is a second reset signal during the same swing then the timers will be reset again to zero and the values will end up being lower and thus the speed calculated will be higher.. i.e. it would appear that the swing time over the sensors is shorter.

How the circuit mod works

For those that might have a basic knowledge of electronic circuits, this is how the mod works.

The reset signal coming from the raw sensors is first fed into a one shot timer (CD4047) which produces a pulse with a width determined by the RC network connected to it.

The pulse width of this signal is comparatively long (> 1 second) and thus will not re-trigger during this 1 second period no matter how many more signals came from the raw reset senors.

This long pulse is then fed into a second one shot timer but this time the pulse width is very short (< 10 micro seconds).

So because the first one shot blocks any other trigger signals from the reset sensor within the 1 second plus period, the second slave one shot will only trigger once.


Part 2

V 8.5.3.3

PX5 chipping - testing

If you would like to test the new PX5 chipping feature without having to drive the ball to near the green in the game software, do the following:

1. Start the CP without any golf game software running.

2. Move the cursor to the "Chip distance from pin"

3. Hold the Ctrl Key down and Right or Left click to set the "Current distance from pin" - which will be zero when no game software is running - to a yardage less than the Chip distance.

In the above example "Current distance is 27 yards" while "Chip distance" is 28 yards.

4. Switch back to the CP's main window and chip a ball from the PX2 mat.

5. Note the ball speed is taken from the PX2 mat using a pre-define smash factor on the club speed, the launch angle is the loft of the club - in this case a 9 iron with 48 degree loft - and ball path taken from the Hcam.

Also note that there's a new "Club track valid" status square in the window and a "Chip detected" message will show when PX5 chipping was used.


November 25 2016

PX5 chipping

Keith in Canada suggests switching off the Vcam vertical camera and using the selected loft of the club as the launch angle

plus measuring speed via the PX2 club tracking mat when chipping as the ball will probably be either on it's LA decent or just be rolling by the time the ball reaches the cameras.

To activate this feature, click the new "Calculate ball speed from club" button. You can adjust the distance from the pin when this chipping feature clicks in by left and right clicking in the "Chip distance from pin" box.

If the ball is already on the green then it is automatically disabled during putting.

PX5 bug fix

Club data from the PX2 mat was not always being used in the launch data calculations

November 20 2016

V 8.5.3.0

CP Camera calibration now active !

The main Vcam camera calibration is now complete and active in this version of the CP

Calibration tables for Vcam distances of 5, 6 and 7 feet from the enclosure center line over a 20 degree ball path range were built.

These tables are included in this CP update.

By default, calibration is active every time you start the CP. You can manually switch it off temporarily for comparison purposes though.

It's important that the Vcam distance selected in the CP is the same as real distance and that -if the Vcam is mounted on the left side of the enclosure - the "Vcam left" option is selected.

After building the tables and CP coding was completed we re-tested again and all results were well within tolerance. i.e. less than +/- 1mph deviation of club speed within in the 20 degree path range

whereas before calibration we were getting as much as a 65 mph deviation. (see table below)

Note that we only got as far as +/- 10 degrees with the tables so any ball paths that exceed this will use the +/- 10 degree correction figures.

Also note that the object of the calibration was to achieve ball speed measurement consistency over ball path range and not the specific ball speed measurement itself which depends on the scaling factor.

Now that consistency has been achieved we can now look at ball speed and the related scaling factors and Vcam mounting distances.

This is relatively easy to determine and we'll be comparing ball speed measurements with TrackMan's, GC2's and the like in the coming weeks.

BTW Hcam calibration - which would be required for 3D ball speed measurements - is not feasible as the ball can get too near the camera - even hit it in fact.

Hcam images are used to detect ball path - which it does perfectly without any calibration - and is only used to measure speed when putting - which in turn also does not require calibration - just scaling.


November 19 2016

Camera calibration

Above are the first results of the camera calibration

Here the Vcam camera was placed at 5ft from the center line on the left side of the enclosure. The results show large LA and ball speed deviations from a straight shot.

Launch angles deviate as much as 7 degrees over a +/- 10 degree ball path range and ball speeds as much a 65 mph over +/- 10 degrees.

Without correction, hitting left or right with the same shot will produce significant yardage differences (probably up to 90 yards).

Up until now, L/R correction was estimated but with these new correction values we can fine tune them to produce the exact same yardage and LA no matter if the ball is hit left, right or straight.

Calibration was also done for Vcam distance of 6ft and later this weekend we'll do 7 and 8 ft distances.

As calibration is moving faster than expected, we should be able to plug in all the new L/R correction values by Monday.


November 17 2016

Camera calibration

We're about to start a new camera calibration for both vertical and horizontal cameras ( V and H cams) in order to improve speed measurement accuracy of balls being hit off center (i.e. hit left or right).

This will probably be quite a long winded operation as various H cam camera mount heights and V cam distances to the enclosure center line have to be taken into account.

Deadline is for the end of this month though.

Camera calibration method

The method consists of placing a white pole of a known length set at a certain vertical angle in the FOV of the cameras which will represent a ball trace of a ball in flight.

At first the pole will be pointed directly at the screen with no left or right deviation from the center line. The readings will give a certain ball speed of a straight shot.

The pole will then be mounted in various left and right angles that will will represent the various ball paths left or right. Readings will be taken at every degree and compared to the known ball speed of a straight shot.

These readings are then recorded to build up a table of left and right adjustments to the measured ball speed so that - when applied - will result in the exact same ball speed as in the straight shot.

As mentioned before, one would think that simple trigonometry could be used to calculate the actual distance the ball has traveled no matter what path - left or right - the ball has but due to lens perspective this is not the case.

Ball traces of balls flying in the direction of the camera will - for a certain angle at least - appear larger and thus longer, while ball traces that fly away from the camera appear smaller and thus shorter even though the distance traveled is exactly the same.

Anyway, these calibration tables - as soon as they are built - will sort everything out nicely.


November 16 2016

V 8.5.2.7

Fix: when making test shots with the mouse in the CP, the spin rate wasn't being calculated correctly

CP carry distances

The recent 15% increase adjustment to these carry distances has now been removed as they were based on test shots with the mouse using the above mentioned spin rate error

3D ball speed measurement

Note that speed decrease factors are increased to 67% over a range of 10 to 60 degrees when using this method.

This percentage will depend on the height the Hcam camera is mounted so will probably have to adjusted to suit your camera height. More about this coming later this week.

PX5 users

( i.e. CX2 ball tracking plus PX2 club tracking)

For comparison purposes you can now switch to "ball speed calculated from club speed" instead of the usual ball speed calculated from V and H cameras


November 15 2016

Is it even possible to measure exact speed of a golf ball moving through 3D space within the confines of a golf simulator space no matter what tracking system is used?

In theory the above illustration of a camera tracking system should detect the exact speed of a ball moving through 3D space

but alas camera lens distortion and perspective distort measurements somewhat and in order to correct this major lens optics corrections have to be applied.

These corrections would require complex mathematical equations based on the lens perspective and camera distances from the center line and height from the ceiling.

If it wasn't for the fact that ball paths can deviate from a straight path then ball speed measurements would be very simple as we could eliminate the X dimension which is the cause of all the problems.

Would ball speed measurements be more accurate using club speed smash factors?

Just for a matter of interest, we're introducing this coming week a method of ball speed measurement based on the exact club head speed obtained by our PX club tracking mat using pre-defined club/ball smash factors.

i.e. multiplying the club speed by a factor of 1.42 or a factor based on club speed and club type

If nothing else, the results will be very consistent. Note that the PX2 club tracking mat measures very precise club head speeds as it is using fast hardware dual 16bit timers.

Should be interesting to see what the results are at least.


November 13 2016

New CTS Pro / CX4cc scaling and club speed setup instructions

Scaling and club speed

The scaling factor is used to convert distances measured in pixels as seen by the cameras to real world distances in millimeters so that club speeds can be measured.

In order to set the correct pixel to mm scaling factor, the measured diameter of a golf ball is used.

As a golf ball has a constant and known diameter (42.67 mm) we can use this as a reference.

During the align cameras procedure the ball size / diameter is detected (as shown in the above image at the top right side of the screen).

It's size here is shown as 154 pixels.

To set the scaling factor first select the "Scale" radio button on the right and then click the "Set scale" button.

The scaling factor here is 0.227 which equates to a ball size of 42.66 mm (i.e. 154 x 0.227 = 42.66mm)

You can also manually adjust this scale using the arrow keys

Frame time delay

In order to measure club speed we need two variables: Distance and time for the formula speed = distance/time;

The scaling factor mentioned above is used to measured the distance the club has traveled within a certain time

and Time is the trigger time delay between the two frames.

If the time delay is zero then the images of the club will appear at exactly the same place which is of no use of course.

The CTS Pro features a variable speed digital delay circuit that delays the trigger signal to the second camera so that we see two images of the club.

There is a rotary switch on the CTS case side that has 4 positions that allow the user to vary the delay. Delay settings are :

Position 1 = 1 milliseconds

Position 2 = 1.6 milliseconds

Position 3 = 2.2 milliseconds

Position 4 = 2.8 milliseconds

Usually position 1 is for very high club speeds, pos 2 or 3 for average club speeds and position 4 for slower club speeds

The object of this is to get the two images as far apart as possible with a fast swing without the club actually making contact with the ball

as any contact with the ball will cause the club face angle to shift and thus incorrect face angles will be recorded

Set the rotary switch to suit your club speed and set the "Frame time delay" setting in the Control Panel to match the rotary switch position (i.e. 1,2,3 or 4)..

If your CTS doesn't have a switch position label on it then position 1 is to the right and 4 to the left when facing the rotary switch

New PX4 with V trac

The PX 4 adds optical sensor vertical launch detection to the PX3

The PX4 features our new V trac optical sensor vertical ball launch system which will be available later this 2017 winter

V trac price is expected to be in the $450 range. i.e. half the price of a PX Vcam


New PX3

For those that want a portable - near plug,n,play system - without the need to set up cameras:

The new PX3 mat combines club tracking and ball tracking in one unit.


November 8 2016

New super low price for PX5 systems

The PX5 price has been slashed from $4,999 to just $2,999!

And now even includes the TGC 15 course software !!!

as well as E6 trial and RedChain single course software with driving range


November 7 2016

Hcam putt detection now only when ball is on green or when putter has been selected

In order to further prevent inadvertent shots when picking up balls in the enclosure with the CX2 system (i.e. without a club tracking mat or camera) Hcam putt detection is only active when a putter has been selected

New super low prices for PX 1 and PX2 club tracking systems

Now just $ 499 / $ 899 ! The PX2 price has been slashed from $1,999 to just $899!


November 5 2016

Note: This section is for testers and developers only

A possible more precise and consistent method of measuring ball speed may be obtained by using the Hcam ball trace length to calculate the Vcam ball trace length.

The issue with the Vcam method is that when the ball path is not straight but travels right towards the Vcam, the trace appears larger than it really is and vice-versa when the ball travels away from the Vcam, it appears smaller than it really is.

There's Left/Right compensation factors built into the CP to correct this but we would like to try a new Hcam method as Hcam trace lengths should be more consistent across the ball path range and don't require any left/right adjustments.

The above images show how we calculate the real Vcam trace length using the cosine of the launch angle and the Hcam trace length.

Using the Vcam scaling factor to convert pixel lengths to real world distances we can calculate the speed of the ball (v = d/t where t is the cameras exposure time)

To activate the new Hcam ball speed method, switch the option on at the bottom right hand side of the Vcam camera window.

Note that scaling factors may have to reset and that left / right speed adjustments are de-activated when using the Hcam ball speed method.

Also not that the complete trace of the ball must be in the valid FOV of the Hcam and that the shutter speed (exposure time) should be the same as in the Vcam (usually 10,000us).

Let us know how it works out. Feedback appreciated.

Other updates in this version:

Spin rate adjustment factors can now be reset using the ctrl key and clicking on the club image in the main window

Some small cosmetic updates


October 30 2016

V 8.5.1.4

Camera assignment error

The recent CP expansion from 4 to 8 cameras may have caused the camera assignments to be reset on some systems. This has now been fixed with this version.


October 20 2016

Px Vcam now with microphone trigger

Existing PX1/PX2 customers (and also other pad users) can now use the PxVcam without running a cable from the mat/pad to the PxVcam


October 15 2016

New PX vertical launch camera

The PX Vcam features built in IR LED lighting and a high speed machine vision camera that captures ball launch angles from 0 to 90 degrees.

Priced at just $ 899, the PX Vcam is an affordable add on to your PX sensor mat


 


September 3 2016

New enclosure assembly instructions

Check out the new enclosure ideas and assembly instructions on the "Enclosures" page

Ball spin factors for individual clubs

V 8.5.0.1

When not using our ball spin cameras, ball spin is calculated using mathematical algorithms based on the launch angle and speed of the ball.

These spin calculations can now be user adjusted for each and every club individually so that - for example - back spin can now be bosted to produce ball roll back on the green with wedges.

In addition, an image of the current club selected is now displayed in the Control Panel's main window.


August 24 2016

V 8.5.0.0

CTS - White woods now detected even thogh scan direction is set right

CX4cc / CTS Pro wood/driver face angle detection without a white stripe

Note: the above images are darkened to show the face angle cross hairs more clearly

We always recommend applying a small white stripe (supplied) to the top of clubs with a bulged face (i.e. woods and drivers) to increase the face angle accuracy, however,

as this may not always be practical - ie when the system is being used in a commercial indoor golf facility - we have made a few screen shots of what to expect when not using a white stripe on the woods and drivers.

As you can see from the above images, the results are not too bad at all. Images 1 and 4 are dead on. Images 2 and 3 only slightly off and only image 5 - of an exaggerated open face - showing more of an issue.

Note that irons have a straight leading edge face so these clubs don't require markings. Image 6 (not darkened) is of a wood with a white stripe.

It's only the clubs with a bulged curved leading edge face that may occasionally not be quite as accurate but we think most can live with results like these.

CX4cc / CTS Pro with tracking dots

For those that would prefer not to see a visible flash with the CTS (club tracking system) and don't mind applying tracking dots to their clubs,

you can now set the CTS to "Tracking dot" mode.

In contrast to the standard Ccam tracking dot system which leaves a trace of the club's tracking dots by using a longer camera exposure time,

the CTS tracking mode version uses a very fast (around 80 micro second) exposure time to grab freeze frames of the dots.

The result is simply the most accurate and precise club tracking system on the market today.


August 2 2016

V 8.4.8.3

Camera IDs (serial numbers) are now being stored along with the camera assignments (Vcam, Hcam, Cam etc) so that when powering up the PC and - for some reason -

the cameras are being detected in a different sequence and thus the assignments are changing (i.e. the Hcam camera turns up in the Vcam or vice-versa) , they will automatically be re-assigned to the their correct function and position.

Hcam putting

As putt detection with the Hcam is now the preferred method, the putting scaling factors in the Vcam and Hcams are now synchronized.

Before, there was some confusion as to which putting scale factor to use.

When adjusting putting ball roll distance, the estimated roll distance in feet is now displayed in the Hcam window.

Stray balls lying around on the floor in the Hcam's FOV are now detected and won't effect the ball path and speed calcualtions.


June 27 2016

How to determine what USB ports are sharing a USB bus on your PC

There's a new section on the Camera Install page that will help you determine what USB ports on your PC are using a shared USB bus and what not.

It's important that multiple cameras are each connected to separate USB buses.

Also on that page, info on using powered hubs.

Quad channel USB controllers

We're currently testing new quad channel USB host cards that feature a dedicated USB channel for each port.

With these cards up to 16 cameras can run at full frame rate without any image tearing or power loss drop outs on a single PC.

Note that most ports on PC mother boards - and on basic low cost USB PCI adapters - use only a single channel and the ports (usually 4) are all shared on this single channel.

Connecting multiple USB cameras on to a single USB channel can cause image tearing and power loss drop outs so if you are experiencing such issues then

either additional multiple single channel cards should be added to the PC (i.e. one for each camera) or a quad channel USB card should be added..

The advantage of a quad channel card is that it only requires one PCIe slot on the PC mother board and most PC's only have one or two free PCI slots.


CTS - Left / Right stripe

When using a white stripe on woods, some may prefer the face angle detection to be on the left side of the stripe nearest the leading face edge rather than the right side of the stripe.

I've therefore added an option button for this. Note that this option is only if your not hitting too far on the up swing and exposing too much club face to the camera. (see below for details)

CTS - Using a white stripe on woods and drivers

Testing today revealed a small issue when using a white stripe on drivers and woods. When the face is exposed to the camera - as in the far left image showing the club striking the ball on the up swing - it can appear very bright.

This bright face can fool the software into assuming it is a white stripe so to counter this issue we are now scanning from right to left in order to detect the stripe from behind.

When using a white club though this method cannot be used so we have added white club detection so if the club is white then we scan from left to right

CTS users ! Don't forget to set the ball position

On the right hand side of the Ccam window in the CP is a setting called "Ball launch Position XY:"

Place a ball on the tee, soft or hard trigger the camera to grab a new frame and move the cross hairs to the center of the ball.

Ball position is used to determine club face deviation from sweet spot and is also used as a reference point when calculating what type of club is being used - i.e. wood or iron - which in turn is used to set the face point shift


 

 

Installation