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Technical News

System Updates & Development News

GSA Golf daily updates and news

Hi! I'm Martin Paul Gardiner

Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf

Regularly check out my tech news page for all our latest developments and free updates

GSA Golf tech news is updated at least once a week !

so make sure to check in for all the latest updates and news regularly

If you have any questions

please feel free to contact me personally anytime from M to F - 12noon to 3pm US ET via e-mail at

Note that telephone service is - due to the workload we're under at present - very limited and sporadic at best.

If you can't get through then please use email.

Note that currently, our telephone sales and support lines are closed due to the coronavirus

Please Note: We're closed on weekends and all US national holidays

If you are contacting us on the weekends or on national holidays,

then we'll make best effort to get back to you within 24 hours of the next working day.

Did you get a response to your e-mail?

We get really busy at times and e-mail responses can be late or even forgotten at times.

Please remind us again if you didn't get a response to your e-mail.

Note: we are not receiving or responding to emails

on weekends or on national holidays.

Emails sent to us after 3pm Friday will get answered to the following Monday

Emails sent to us after 3pm on work days are not read until the next day

Email responses are usually only made between 12 noon and 3 pm

GSA Golf Telephone sales and support is suspended

Please Note: Due to the heavy workload and high demand for our products,

GSA Golf have had to suspend all telephone sales and support services for the meantime in order to keep up with the high volume.

All sales and customer support inquires are thus dealt via email only on a first come, first served basis.

Best effort is made to reply to all inquires within 24 hours on work days, but delays may occur.

Note that all phone calls are routed to an automated answering service that does not record messages.

Customers attempting to leave messages won't be heard as our regular telephone systems are currently shut down.

Product delivery lead times

As we're now in the high season (October to February) for golf simulator related products,

demand is far higher and thus product shipment lead times are far longer than in the off season.

Lead times of 2 to 4 weeks are now the norm for screens, drapes, flooring etc.

While GSA Golf VisTrak base cameras are still able to ship within a few days,

VisTrak Stereo and VisTrak IR panel products will probably require 10 o 14 days to ship now.

Still a lot better than some of our competitors though that are quoting up to 12 weeks plus for delivery.

GSA Golf product production capacity

1. VisTrak Eagle base: 100 per month - average lead time 1 to 2 days

2. VisTrak IR and IR VC : 16 per month - average lead time 5 to 7 days

3. VisTrak IR Stereo : 8 per month - average lead time 14 days

User support backlog

Due to the high demand for GSA Golf VisTrak products now in this high season,

support response delays are increasing.

Currently there is a 4 to 7 day (or even more) backlog on user support.

If you are requiring tech support, please be patient and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Click the above button image to download the latest Beta CP update

GSA Control Panel (CP) Beta update V 9.4.4.1

October 19 2020

Click the above button image to download the latest CP update

GSA Control Panel (CP) update V 9.4.1.3

September 11 2020

Download VC redistributables hereHere

Download latest Camera DLL hereHere

Don't forget to run the download after it's downloaded!

A number of customers don't realize that a CP update is a dual process

i.e first download and then run the download

Note that anti-virus programs will probably try to block the GSA Golf CP update download but - be assured - there's no malicious software in the download update

so just ignore any warnings from your anti-virus programs and choose the "More options" and "Run anyway" option.


GSA Control Panel (CP) full version download

V.9.3.0.0 April 2 2020

Click the above image to download your free Full version GSA Golf Control Panel

After downloading and installing the full version Control Panel,

download and install the CP update by clicking on the above CP update button.

 


 

October 19 5:10 pm

- V 9.4.4.1 Beta

VisTrak Stereo users:

Switching ball speed and path measurements from the Stereo cameras to the VisTrak camera

New 1: This option is now displayed in all camera windows and the main CP window as well as in the VisTrak Video window now.

New 2: club type carry factor is now being saved in the VisTrak shot video files. This is primarily used to help with user support shot analysis.

i.e. we'll know what user defined carry factor was used in the shot.

October 17 2:10 pm

- V 9.4.3.9 Beta

New option for VisTrak Stereo users allows shot launch from VisTrak camera if stereo cams don't detect the shot

Should the stereo cameras not detect the shot for some reason (i.e. LS cam issue, incorrect stereo camera setup etc)

the new "Allow ball launch from VisTrak if Stereo cams don't detect shot"

will ensure that the shot will still launch but using the VisTrak camera's data instead of the stereo cams data.

VisTrak shot validation tests

After much testing today, reports of inadvertant ball launch during ball placement or club waggling couldn't be reproduced.

October 17 8:15 am

VisTrak hot validation tests

There's been some reports that the system will inadvertently launch a shot to the game software during ball placement and/or club waggling.

We'll be running a series of tests today to pinpoint what may cause this and applying software mods to resolve the issue.

If indeed a shot is inadvertently launched, then the system will be blocked for around 10 seconds before the next shot is recognized.

This 10 second delay - during which shots will not be recognized - may cause users to think the system is not running correctly, is unreliable or is unstable.


October 16 6:10 pm

- V 9.4.3.8 Beta

Using the VisTrak Stereo system to only measure LA without a Line Scan trigger camera

This version of the CP will only use the Stereo cameras to measure ball launch angle if the above 2 options are switched OFF.

In the event that the Stereo cameras don't detect a ball, then the loft angle of the selected club will be used as vertical Launch Angle.

How does LA (Launch Angle) measurement accuracy using the stereo cameras compare with LA measured with the ceiling mounted Vcam?

While the stereo cams use calibrated stereoscopic tables to measure ball height that should be spot on,

the ceiling mounted Vcam (as used in the VisTrak IR VC system) relies on a table that converts ball image size to ball height - which is subsequently is used to calculate LA.

A comparison test is thus in order here.

Results will be published either this weekend or shortly thereafter.

Should the test results show that there is only a small, insignificant difference in accuracy, then the question begs :

what is the point of spending so much more for the stereo system when it is only to be used to measure ball LA?

End of the line for the line scan camera?

By far the biggest issue we encounter with new users of the Stereo cameras is the LineScan trigger camera.

While the new SCTS trigger will solve most issues of LS cam sensitivty adjustments, it is a rather expensive solution (i.e. $800 extra)

As already eluded to on the October 14th entry here, using the VisTrak camera to trigger the stereo cameras

would be an easier and more reliable alternative to the line scan camera - plus it would be less expensive.

Tests and updates for this new method will made over this weekend.

October 16 11:45 am

- V 9.4.3.6 Beta

Calibration mode new features

To help assist the calibration process, a couple of new features:

1. Pressing the SPACE bar on the keyboard switches the calibration mode on and off so that the images captured can be inspected before entering the values

2. The active row is now bright white

3. A beep and message is shown after the "Ins" key has been pressed showing that the values have been entered into the calibration table

This version of the CP includes the calibration table for the 260cm or 8ft 6" mounting height of the Stereo IR panel cameras.


October 15 1:45 pm

- V 9.4.3.5 Beta

New calibration tables for VisTrak IR Stereo panels

Over the next few days, I'll be making a new set of stereo calibration tables for those that are using the standard VisTrak IR Stereo panel.

As the cameras are always mounted 60 inches apart, the only variable will the mounting height on the ceiling.

There will be 6 tables for mounting heights of 240, 250, 260, 270, 280, 290 and 300 cm

(i.e. 7ft 10",8ft 3", 6ft 6", 8ft 10", 9ft 2", 9ft 6" and 9ft 10")

This version of the CP includes the table for the 250 or 8ft 3" mounting height.


October 14 8:40 am

- V 9.4.3.4 Beta

Switching ball speed and path measurements from the Stereo cameras to the VisTrak camera

Unless the stereo cameras are calibrated on site, it's probably more accurate to have the VisTrak camera measure the ball speed and path.

Certainly ball path is going to be spot on when derived from the VisTrak camera. Ball speed should be too if the scaling factor is set correctly.

When used like this, the only function the stereo cameras will have is to calculate the vertical launch angle of the ball.

New default stereo calibration table.

Over the next few days, I'll be making up a new stereo calibration table for the VisTrak IR Stereo unit that has a camera spacing of 40 inches.

Ceiling height for the table will be 8.5 ft.

- V 9.4.3.3 Beta

Verifying ball speed measurements from the VisTrak camera

The parameters that are used to calculate ball speed with the VisTrak camera are now displayed.

i.e. Distance ball traveled, number of frames used to calculate time and time. Speed = distance / time.

Note that the frame time of 0.0017 is derived from the camera's frame rate of 590 fps. i.e. 1/590 = 0.0017.


October 13 6:40 pm

- V 9.4.3.2 Beta

Comparing ball speed measurements from the VisTrak camera and the stereo cameras

This CP update shows the un-adjusted ball speed measured by the VisTrak camera compared to the un-adjusted ball speed measured by the stereo cameras.

October 13 3:30 pm

- V 9.4.3.1 Beta

Bug Fix

As of version 9.4.2.2 from October 7, a bug caused the system to occasionally get stuck in LX3 mode.

This may have caused a number of issues. Problem is now resolved though.


October 12 5:30 pm

Product purchase and shipment lead times - VisTrak systems still in stock!

VisTrak vs SkyTrak

As we're now in the high season for golf simulator related products, there will inevitably be some shipping lead-times that are above normal.

Fortunately, GSA Golf VisTrak systems can still be shipped on time (i.e. within 2 to 5 days)

which is in contrast to our competitors (namely SkyTrak) that - according to web site reports - have a massive 3 month lead-time.

i.e. buy your SkyTrak now in time for next Spring, or buy your VisTrak now in time for next weekend

and - in contrast to SkyTrak -

you can see your swing video playback for every shot showing all club data for both left and right handed players with the VisTrak system.

So why can GSA Golf ship VisTrak systems without this massive delay you may ask?

Main reason is that the VisTrak system is primarily a software product with a camera. i.e. there's no additional circuitry involved

and so there's no labor and time intensive product to be assembled.

Not to forget to mention of course is the fact that VisTrak is half the price of a SkyTrak

October 12 9:30 am

- V 9.4.3.0 Beta

Fixed stereo scale

There's been a report that there is some inconsistency in shot carry distance with stereo systems.

The issue could be caused by many factors ( i.e. ball traces not being properly detected or errors in the user adjustable stereo calibration table)

but another possible cause could be the varying scaling factors being used for different launch angles.

In order to eliminate this possible cause, there's now a "Fixed Stereo Scale" option in the camera 1 window.

When ON, only the fixed "Scale" value will be used (i.e. the value above the "Fixed Stereo Scale" option)

which - when adjusted - will have an immediate effect on the measured ball speed, LA and path.


October 11 5:25 pm

- V 9.4.2.9 Beta

When starting the stereo calibration mode, the GSA Golf calibration instruction web page is now automatically opened

The stereo calibration process is actually quite easy and fast as there's only some 16 to 18 entries to be made.

The process simply consists of attaching a cardboard black panel with a white strip to a metric metal tape measure (suspended from the stereo unit)

with 2 magnets and sliding it from ground up in 10 cm steps.

Go into "Calibration mode" from camera 1 and press the * key to start the calibration recording.

Start with the calibration strip at floor level.

With each step, hit the enter key to trigger the cameras (an audible beep will sound) that then measure the stereo disparity value

and press the "Ins. or "Insert" key to enter the value into the calibration table.

Then move the table row up to the next row and slide the black cardboard panel up 10 cm.

Do this until the cameras no longer see the strip as it will go out of the FOV of the cameras after around 16 steps.

Click above to read more about stereo camera calibration.

October 11 12:20 pm

- V 9.4.2.7 Beta

User stereo calibration data now stored in the video files for each shot

This feature will be used to assist in user support shot analysis.

The data allows us to see how the user's stereo calibration table has been setup

and what stereo values were used in the shot that determined the ball speed, LA and Path.


October 10 7:45 am

- V 9.4.2.6 Beta

Unadjusted raw speed now displayed and stored

The unadjusted raw speed (i.e. the speed before any carry adjustments are applied) is now displayed in all camera windows and stored in the video files


October 9 2:45 pm

- V 9.4.2.5 Beta

openCV method of ball detection only now

The CV (Computer Vision) method of ball detection is now used exclusively.

If the system can't detect a ball with the CV functions, then the system won't continue to try and detect the ball with the older ball detection functions.

The reason for this is that the system will seem to hang for a long time (some 60 seconds) using the older method if the ball is not clearly visible.

October 9 12:25 pm

- V 9.4.2.4 Beta

Carry factors

New 1: Carry factor adjustments are now available in the VisTrak camera window and the VisTrak Video window as well as in the Stereo CX camera windows.

New 2: While adjusting the carry and spin rate factors via the slider bars, the estimated carry is immediately updated and displayed.

New 3: All adjustments are now made in a single function that updates the spin rate as well as the ball speed and thus carry.

New 4: the club type is now saved in the auto generated shot video files

New 5: Club carry factors are now default ON


October 7 4:10 pm

- V 9.4.2.2 Beta

Fix 1: club strip being picked up as ball

Fix 2: Carry factor slider bar not functioning in camera 1 window.

Fix 3: A couple of cosmetic issues

Adjusting stereo ball speed

Adjusting stereo ball launch angle

More stereo camera instructions at the end of the Stereo setup page

 


October 4 9:00 am

- V 9.4.1.8 Beta

Video overlay playback speed increased

As we've had a couple of reports that the video swing playback is too slow, we've increased the speed 2 fold now.


October 3 2:00 pm

- V 9.4.1.7 Beta

SX Line scan camera SCTS CP update now ready.

Instructions:

1. Install the complete GSA Control Panel on a separate PC or Laptop

2. Install the VisTrak SCTS camera in-line and centered with the 2 stereo cameras pointing straight down on the ceiling.

Note: the lens should be a wide view 2.1 to 3.4 mm lens.

3. Select the option "Use this camera as a SCTS camera only" in the Setup window.

4. Connect the GPIO cables as show above. The green wire from the VisTrak camera is the trigger output signal

which is connected to the first green wire next to the red wire on the stereo cameras (the trigger input)

5. Set the "max floor gray scale" just higher than the max gray scale level of the flooring.

Note: you can move the blue scan zone lines to reduce the scan area if required.

6. Set the camera to Stream mode to check.

If the system detects a pixel in the FOV of the camera that is higher, an audible beep will sound and a trigger signal will be sent to the stereo cameras.

(Note: you can switch the audio beeps off or on in the setup window).

7. Start the camera from the CP's main window as usual.

Note: if you start the camera in the cameras window via the Stream Mode option, the frame rate will only be around 80 fps.

Starting the camera from the main window stops screen rendering and the frame rate will increase to over 590 fps

September 30 3:00 pm

SX Line scan camera alternative - SCTS

The SX Line Scan camera used to trigger CX cameras and Stereo cameras has always been a little difficult for customers to setup and use

so we've come up with a nice solution to the problem.

The new "Stereo Camera Trigger System" (SCTS) uses a hi-speed camera that runs on a separate low cost PC or Laptop.

Compared to the SX Line Scan camera, the FOV is far wider and the system is more reliable and easier to use.

Price with Laptop is $999 or - if you already have a spare laptop or PC - the camera alone is $599.

The system will be available next week.

Note that all VisTrak Stereo systems now include the new SCTS trigger system without any extra charge.


September 29 6:00 pm

VisTrak Pro camera development on hold until the new year

Having spent some 60 plus hours now on the integration of these new cameras into the CP,

we're having to put this development on hold for the meantime as numerous issues are turning up

and - as we're in the middle of the busy season - just don't have the time anymore.


September 6 5:30 pm

Going full USB3

Our camera manufacturer has informed us that the older USB2 CX cameras are now EOL (End of Life).

All new cameras will thus be USB3 cameras as soon as our current stock of USB2 cameras are depleted.

Fortunately, the USB3 cameras are compatible with the USB2 cameras so - other than the cable - there are no differences in operation or performance.

When using GSA Golf multiple camera systems, only the VisTrak camera itself uses the high-speed USB3 performance

so all other cameras can be - as before - connected to a USB2 port.

This is important as most PC's only feature one or two USB3 ports.


August 18 2:00 pm

- V 9.4.0.6 Beta

VisTrak Putting

Fix 1: Issue with incorrect putting ball speed fixed.

VisTrak LX and Quantum

New: LX camera lens calibration activated.

New: LX and Quantum ball spin calculation methods now user adjustable.

i.e.

1: Estimated

2: Pattern match or Spin dots on Ball (new method)

3. Spin dots on ball (old method)

4. Ball logo or line on ball


August 11 3:00 pm

- V 9.4.0.3 Beta

Update for VisTrak systems.

User Bob pointed out that the system still occasionally mistakes the club for a ball.

A complete revision of the ball detection method had to be done to fix this (over 4 hours of coding and testing).

August 10 2:00 pm

- V 9.4.0.2 Beta

Update for Quantum testers.

Fix 1: Possible inadvertant shots being made when user moves ball slightly in the Launch Zone


July 14 5:00 pm

VisTrak Quantum questions

I get numerous emails a day from people that are interested in our new VisTrak Quantum so I would like to answer some of their main questions here:

Question 1: How does the VisTrak Quantum compare - and have you done any comparison tests with - Trackman, aG 3Track, GCQuad, GC Hawk, Uneekor etc?

Answer: No - we haven't done any comparison tests with our competitors products yet but - as all our data is user verifiable with photographic evidence

- we don't see any great necessity to do so for the moment.

e.g. When we claim that the club face angle at impact to the ball is a certain number of degrees open or closed, the user can simply view the shot video to verify this.

In contrast, our competitors either don't show this or can't show it (as with radar systems like the Trackman) . i.e. you just have to take their word for it.

Even our ball spin measurements are user verifiable.

BTW I'm not even aware that systems like the aG 3Track or GC Hawk actually measure any club data.

Question 2: Why is the VisTrak Quantum so much cheaper than its competitors?

Surely there's something major missing because this sounds like it's too good to be true. Where's the catch?

There's no catch

but there are a number of reasons why GSA Golf product prices are so much lower than its competitors.

Reason 1:

First and foremost, GSA Golf just don't take anywhere near the profits that our competitors do.

e.g. while we (or I) can spend tens of thousands of hours (spanning over many years) on development, we don't factor in these costs.

For us, golf simulator development is more a passion than a business. i.e. we don't wake up in the morning thinking about how much money we can make today.

Reason 2:

Our systems are not using integrated processing units inside the product itself.

i.e. All image processing is done in the host PC and thus we can save on these additional hardware costs.

GSA Golf camera systems essentially consist of just the cameras, power supplies and lighting. There's no integrated on-board CPU or other electronics.

Note that the cameras themselves feature integrated CPU's though.

Reason 3:

We do - somewhat - cut on the cost of the casings.

e.g. the Quantum IR uses just a frame with an IR acrylic panel to hold all the components.

i.e. There's no back panel to make a completely enclosed unit. The frame is nicely black anodized though, so still looks great and comes with a projector mount.

In addition to the extra costs a complete closed casing would come to (around $600 plus labor ) , we'd also have to add in cooling fans to dissipate heat.

Leaving the unit open solves all these costs - and as the open back panel is not even visible to the user when mounted on the ceiling -

it would seem this is rather a waste of money which could be better passed on to the consumer.

However, having said that, we can make complete enclosed casings for the Quantum for customers that would prefer this for an additional cost.

In fact, one of my partners can even make a teak cabinet for it. After all, customer is king and whatever they want, we can make.


 


 

Installation


Factory

Based in Naples, Florida,

all GSA Golf products are meticulously assembled and tested by hand to meet the highest industry standards

GSA Golf golf simulator components and kits

CX and Vistrak system components can be used to build the complete GSA Golf golf simulator camera tracking system

at a far lower price than the ready made system prices

Click above to read more about GSA Golf components and kits



About Martin Gardiner

Founder of GSA Golf

I've been in the golf simulation business for over 20 years now

These days, when I'm not developing golf simulators, you'll find me in my keyboard music studio


 

 

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