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Technical News

System Updates & Development 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

if you have any questions

please feel free to contact me personally anytime at

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.


GSA Golf Control Panel (CP) downloads

GSA 32 bit Control Panel (CP) update V.9.0.3.9

July 17 2019

Please note that the 64bit version of the CP does not function with our optical sensor pads (PX1, pX2, PX5 etc)

The 64 bit version of the CP also requires that the 64 bit camera driver be installed - link to this is below,

GSA 64 bit Control Panel (CP) update V.9.0.3.9

July 17 2019

Download VC redistributables 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 Golf camera Viewer and driver software

Camera Drivers for 32 bit and 64 bit systems

Click the above images to download your camera drivers

Your GSA Golf cameras require that the camera drivers are installed. If you missed this during the initial installation process then download and install the above linked software


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Estimated VisTrak release date

August/September 2019

Need support ?

We offer free e-mail and remote access support

Our remote access support is done with the TeamViewer software.

Click the above image to download and install the free TeamViewer software on your PC


 

July 17 2019

- V 9.0.3.9

More updates for VisTrak Alpha testers

July 16 2019

- V 9.0.3.8

1. Vcam B functions activated

2. Fix for incorrect club face angle displayed in camera window for LH players

3. Fix for too forgiving ball path angle.

VisTrak spin rate detection without the Vcam B

A number of people have expressed their disappointment that the stand alone VisTrak is now not going to detect ball spin - at least not with any accuracy

The reasons for this are:

1. due to the very low resolution of the VisTrak images, there is insufficient detail to accurately detect ball markings.

Note that the VisTrak is indeed a high resolution camera but the resolution has to be turned down in order to achieve the 600 fps frame rate.

2. again due to the low resolution - the effective scan area of the ball will only be about 24 pixels. Which means we can only detect 24 positions of movement in 2 frames.

Assuming we need a spin rate range of 1 to 10,000 rpm, we'd then only get an accuracy of 10,000/24 = 416 rpm

which isn't any better than estimated ball spin based on comparisons to hi-end launch monitors.

3. because the VisTrak is viewing the ball from above and the camera is only running at 600 fps with a limited FOV,

there will be near zero chance of the ball markings re-appearing in later frames after the ball rotates through 360 degrees..

Unless it's a very slow shot, we usually only get around 6 to 8 frames of the ball in flight which isn't sufficient for the markings to re-appear after 360 degrees of rotation.

Should people show interest in having ball spin detection at this low level of accuracy, then we can add this feature at a later date.

In contrast, the side mounted Vcam B camera features 2 hi-resolution cameras with IR flashes that capture clear and sharp ball images (see above image).

And as the cameras are viewing the ball from the side, we get to see a full 360 degrees of rotation of the markings instead of maybe just 20 degrees or so from the ceiling mounted camera.

BTW the balls for the stand alone ceiling mounted VisTrak will require spin dots to be applied to them, whereas, the side mounted Vcam B doesn't.

i.e. it can use the ball's logo instead.

With hi-resoltion images, ball spin accuracy can be in the +/- 1 rpm range.

VisTrak lighting

 

We're still working on lighting for the VisTrak.

Currently we have two options that work well:

1. Studio LED spot light (60w $150 to the "Big Bertha" 150w studio lamp $299)

2. Low profile halogen track lighting (6 x 75w or 50w narrow beam lights - $299)

3. IR low profile LED lighting

Up until now, no success but we're still working on it.


July 14 2019

New VisTrak casings

Attractive new low profile casings for both the VisTrak camera and the VisTrak Vcam camera

VisTrak Vcam with dual IR Flash hi-resolution ball spin detection cameras

The VisTrak Vcam is available in two versions:

1. Single camera Ball vertical launch angle detection only (Vcam)

2. Dual camera with IR Flash for vertical launch angle and ball spin detection. (Vcam B)

The VisTrak Vcam and Vcam B are floor mounted cameras that function for both left and right handed players without having to move the unit.

- V 9.0.3.7

Numerous mods and updates for Alpha testers


Lower priced 60 w spot lights working

Correction:

Yesterday I announced that the lower priced 60w LED spot light doesn't provide enough light for the VisTrak camera to accurately detect club leading edge face angle.

Turns out that the cone that was attached to the lamp to narrow the beam caused a significant loss of power.

Replacing the cone with a Fresnel lens fixed the problem.

The above images show that the leading edge of the club is easily seen with the 60w LED lamp even when camera exposure time is reduced to 150 micro-seconds.

For those that would prefer a lower mounting profile, the lamp can be mounted parallel to the ceiling with a small mirror that reflects the light back down.

Research into low profile IR LED lighting alternatives is continuing.


July 8 2019

- V 9.0.3.6

1. The new LX software activated.

2. Improved ball size and position detection.

The previous ball image size detection method didn't take into account the logo on the ball. i.e. it was just counting the white pixels of the ball and left out the black logo pixels.

Thus the size of the ball was always a bit smaller if the ball's logo was visible and it's center position was slightly off due to this too.


July 7 2019

New lower prices and features for VisTrak versions of the LX and KX launch monitors

LX $1,299, KX $2,499

In contrast to the old LX and KX launch monitors, the new VisTrak versions - featuring the VisTrak high speed camera -

don't require a trigger mat, overhead lamp, dual cameras and a multitude of electronic circuits.

They just require the hi-speed VisTrak camera and IR LED lighting.

Priced from just $1,299, the new LX and KX launch monitor Beta versions will be available this coming August.


July 6 2019

More test lighting results

The above show good image quality even when turning the lamp power down to 50%.

At 25% the club is is getting dark but still the leading edge of the club is being picked up.

The images were taken from frames with the camera running at full 600fps with a 270 micro-second exposure time.

As I'm somewhat surprised to still see good results after turning the lamp power down so far, I've ordered a lower powered (60 watt) version of the lamp.

Price for this LED lamp is $135 and is smaller compared to the 150 w version.

Price of the VisTrak could then come down to $ 995

The main reason we're getting better results from visible light than IR light is that the camera's image sensor

is more sensitive to visible light (500 to 700 nm) and far less sensitive to IR (890 nm) light.


July 5 2019

Test results of the new 150 w 18,000 lumen spot light for the VisTrak

The above two test images show how good the images are now when using the new power adjustable LED spot light.

The LED lamp was running at 100% for these images but we can probably go down to 50% and increase the camera gain to get the same results.

Up until now, the all important leading edge of irons were not visible using the previous lighting (low powered LED IR and 200 watt halogen)

This new LED lamp solves this problem nicely.

Essentially this gives us the green light to start shipping the first Beta versions of VisTrak.

We'll also try out different lenses to further concentrate the beam.

Better looking mounting hardware has to be sourced too.

KX and LX launch monitors will use the IR LED lights we tried out today as well.

In addition, we'll be looking around for an IR light version of this 18,000 lumens LED lamp.

Q. If the new VisTrak spot light is in front of the projector, will its light interfere with the light coming out of the projector?

Someone, who was concerned about the new VisTrak light, asked me this question recently.

A.

The photon-photon scattering cross-section (i.e. the probability that one photon will collide with another and both scatter) is vanishingly small.

So, the short answer is nothing will happen and the beams will continue on their merry way, blissfully unaware of each other.

BTW if you do find that the spot light beam does interfere with the projector beam, then let me know.

We can then jump on a flight to Geneva Switzerland, show those smarty pants guys at the CERN particle accelerator facility what we've found and collect our

Nobel prize for physics research into photon collision without the requirement for a 2 $billion 10 mile diameter particle collision accelerator.


 

- V 9.0.3.5

1. Left-handed player issues resolved.

2. Left/Right arrow keys can be used to step to the next frame.


July 1 2019

- V 9.0.3.3

1. Soft trigger button now also in the VisTrak window.

2. A number of small bugs fixed and improvements made.


June 30 2019

- V 9.0.3.0

Launch zone

The user definable launch area is now shown - and is adjustable - in the VisTrak window as well as in the Camera window

The launch zone now has a user adjustable Valid Pixel Count (VPC). i.e. it counts the number of bright pixels in the launch zone area.

This VPC is set to ensure that the system doesn't mistake a ball being placed in the launch zone area with the user's hand for a ball and club and thus a valid shot.

The value should be set to around 1000 to 1500. If the VPC for a shot exceeds the max value then the ball won't launch in the game software and an error message will be displayed.


June 29 2019

- V 9.0.2.9

VisTrak vertical launch (LA) angle based on club loft

For those that want to use the VisTrak as a golf simulator tracking system (i.e. instead of just swing video playback).

but don't want to use a Vcam or Surround camera system to detect vertical launch angle,

an effective vertical launch angle will be derived from the selected club loft and whether or not the user is striking the ball on the down or up swing.

Irons usually strike the ball on the down swing (thus decreasing the loft of the club) while drivers are on the up swing (thus increasing the loft of the club).

 

The effective LA can now be user adjusted for every club in the VisTrak window.


June 28 2019

- V 9.0.2.8

1. General VisTrak improvements

2. Update for VisTrak left handed players

3. Cross hairs and markings are now additionally shown in the VisTrak window as well as the camera window.

The markings show in what frames the club face angle was detected and in what frames the club path and speed was detected

plus in what frames the ball speed and direction was calculated from.


June 23 2019

- V 9.0.2.2

Composite video

1. The new Composite video feature - that overlays all frames - shows the swing path more clearly

2. Improved club face detection


June 21 2019

- V 9.0.2.0

Animated color video playback

This version features the basics of the animated video playback feature.

Use the top controls to alter club face and ball path in the VisTrak window to test.

Includes club swing arc and face angles for every step in the video frame sequence.

Animated color video playback

Because the real video playback may look rather dull in monochrome and may not feature all 32 frames of the swing due to the 600 fps frame rate limitation,

we'll give the user the option to view color animated video swing playback that will expand the frames to the full 32 frames should the real video showing the ball and club be less than 32 frames.

The above image shows how the animated video playback would look like.

The animated club and ball images in the video will directly follow the underlying real monochrome video but would look a lot clearer and more appealing in color.

Just like the real video, you'll be able to step back and forth in single frame steps as well as play the complete swing playback video in slow motion.


June 19 2019

- V 9.0.1.6

LaunchZone

1. In order to prevent inadvertent ball launches when placing the ball on the hitting mat and then moving it around,

a user defined launch zone area is defined that allows any movement within the launch zone area without launching the ball.

i.e. if the ball ball doesn't leave the launch zone area, then it's not a valid shot.

If the ball is moved and doesn't leave the launch zone area, the system will then revert back to the "Looking for ball in launch zone" mode.

For those that want to play the ball from various surfaces (fairway, rough, sand and greens), multiple launch zones can be setup.

2. The "Access violation" error causing the VisTrak CP application to occasionally crash has been found and fixed.


June 18 2019

- V 9.0.1.5

Video brightness control

You can now increase or decrease the brightness of the video.

Setting is last control on the right side of the VisTrak camera window.

Color camera vs monochrome camera lighting.

In contrast to monochrome camera IR lighting, color cameras require quite strong visible light lighting.

The above image from GolfWrx shows the SwingTrack color camera lighting.

As visible light lighting may not be suitable for all users, the VisTrak Color camera system is optional.

i.e. you can choose between non visible IR lighting with monochrome video playback or visible light lighting with color video playback videos.

Narrow beam IR lighting

We're currently looking into and testing narrow beam IR Illuminators for use with the VisTrak IR system.


June 17 2019

- V 9.0.1.4

Multiple video files can now be stored and retrieved

1. Up to 8 video files can now be stored and retrieved.

The video files now also include the "Strike Frame" number.

The strike frame in the video is the frame where the club makes first makes contact with the ball.

This frame is used to calculate the club face angle at impact and used as a reference to calculate all other ball and club data.

2. Improved ball detection.


June 15 2019

Enhanced video capturing methods boost VisTrak's base frame rate from 600 fps to the equivalent of 4,800 fps.

At the enhanced 4,800 fps rate , images of the club are rendered and processed every 1cm (0.39 inches) at a club swing speed of 100 mph

and images of the ball are captured every 2 cm (0.78 inches) at a speed of 200 mph.

The enhanced video capturing feature will be available next month.

The result will be a smoother video play back.

In addition, the contrast of the frames will be increased for clearer and brighter images.

Color cameras

We'll be testing a color camera version of the VisTrak system next month.

In contrast to the monochrome version that uses invisible-to-the-eye IR LED lighting, the color version uses Halogen visible light lighting.

- V 9.0.1.2

CP update for Dual lane systems

The left handed player now has a separate Vcam scaling factor, gtay scale and scan zones.


GSA Golf simulator enclosure sales

Sales of the GSA Golf Studio drape enclosures have now superseded our tracking system sales.

While I started enclosure sales as just an add-on to our our tracking systems, turns out that this business is far more lucrative than expected.

No wonder I suppose as all customers purchasing other tracking systems like TrackMans, GC2's GC Quads and Hawks, FlightScopes, SkyTraks etc..etc ...) will all need an enclosure

and we're quite the experts at this now.


 

May 06 2019

The new GSA Golf F2 full golf simulator featuring the VisTrak tracking system starts at just $5,995

Click above to read more.


E6 Connect

coming soon for all GSA Golf products.

Priced at $2,500 with 27 courses. Many more courses and features available with add-on subscriptions starting at $300 to $600 per year.


V 8.8.6.5

March 7 2019

CP System Administrator Mode

Bug Fix: System Adminstrator mode not being saved now fixed.

We've had a number of requests to add a lock mechanism to the CP so that unqualified persons do not play around with any of the CP's settings and setup.

This feature is of particular interest to commercial indoor golf facilities and also home users that may have kids accessing the CP.

Note that when this option is switched on, the current setup and configuration is automatically saved and that afterwards

no more changes are saved until this option is switched off.


V 8.8.5.7

February 17 2019

Camera temperature

We've had one report that a camera stops functioning after around 9 holes but fixes itself after unplugging it and waiting 30 mins.

This seems to indicate the camera is overheating. To check on this, the CP now reads and displays the camera's current internal temperature.

The display is shown bottom left in all the camera windows.

Normal operating temperature should be around 60° C or 140 ° F.


 

V 8.8.4.6

January 31 2019

New Trace checking method for both the Vcam and Hcams

As promised yesterday, the new trace checking feature can now detect a trace within pixel groups larger that the pixel count of the trace itself.

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Also, the Max VPC check wasn't working with yesterday's version.

Update 2: Club fitter mode is now default OFF.


V 8.8.1.2

November 12 2018

There are now two optional ball putting positions - 1 for left and 1 for right handed players.

This option is useful when there is insufficient distance between the end of the hitting mat surfaces and the SX line scan camera and/or trigger array.

The player then putts from the side of the regular hitting surfaces and the game feedback to the Control Panels tells the CP if the current player is a left or right handed player.

The CP will then automatically switch the puttiing ball hitting positions.

To switch this option on , hold the shift key down in the Hcam window and - on the far lower left - click the "Left/Right dual hitting lane" option "ON".

Note that this option also sets two regular shot ball hitting positions so you'll have to set the regular ball hitting positions for both left and right handed players too.

These will be in the same position if not using real dual lane hitting mats.

Ball spin axis reverse option.

A left-handed player commented that he thinks the ball spin axis is reversed for left handed players. We couldn't reproduce the issue but there is now a "Reverse spin axis" option in the "Setup window".


June 18 2018

V 8.7.9.1

Bcam and LX systems.

Measuring ball spin using the ball's logo.

New logo matching end detection.

An issue with measuring ball spin using the ball's logo is that the correct matching ends of the logo must be detected in order to correctly measure the amount of rotation within the time frame..

i.e. if one end of the logo is found in image 1 then that same end has to found in image 2. Failing to do this can result in very different ball spin rate measurements.

The above two images show a ball spinning at a rate of 8321 rpm. We know this because the amount of rotation within the 2 ms frame delay was 149.78 degrees.

And we only know the correct amount of rotation because the Letter "C" in the Calloway logo has been detected correctly in both frames. This is shown by the two red cross hairs over the letter "C".

Without this new "Matching logo end detection" feature, the CP image processing may well get the ends mixed up and then a totally different amount of rotation will be measured

(i.e. 30.22 degrees here) and thus a totally different and false ball spin rate will be calculated. (Note that the two sets of images are from the same shot.)

As can be seen from the above two images, the letter "C" in the Calloway logo has not been detected in image 2 (i.e. there's a green cross hair on the "C" instead of a red cross hair).

And thus a false spin rate measurement was calculated (i.e. 1678 rpm instead of the real 8321 rpm).

It should be noted that not all ball logos have a dominant end and thus it may be required to use a black magic marker or black ink pen to accent one end of the logo.

Note that measuring ball spin using the logo (or any marked balls like those with A systems) is the only way a camera method of ball spin detection is able to do this in real time. i.e. without a long 2 to 4 second or so lag time (SkyTrak / GC2 etc).

While radar systems (Trackman, FlightScope etc) require metallic dots be applied to the ball and the ball be placed with the dot facing upwards.


 

Installation


Factory

Based in Naples, Florida,

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


A bit about me just in case anyone is interested

When I'm not developing golf simulators, you'll find me in my music studio