The Golf Swing Automatic Analyzer
The Swing Timing Master


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Golfer! Have you ever dreamed knowing what's happening during your Golf Swing, how do your body parts move, whether or not your timing is right? And, more importantly why your Golf Swing is not as efficient as it could?

Here comes the system that will provide you with the answers, namely the SWING TIMING MASTER (STM).

This patent pending (France and International PTC ) System is looking for a business partner to mass produce and market it. If you have the capacity of developing, manufacturing and distributing electroncs or golf training aids, please Contact me.


THEORY

In Golf, Rotations movements are what provides energy to the club and then to the ball to fly towards the target. If you Master Rotations, you Master your Game. And, because these Rotations need to happen in a certain manner, one of the most important success factors for an effective golf swing is TIMING, that is, proper body segments‘ (hips, shoulders, arm and hand) Rotations Chronology. Efficient downswing start's Rotation Chronology is: hips, shoulders, arm and hand.

Moreover, during the downswing, the segments rotational‘s speeds increase and decrease after having reached peaks that have the same chronology than the downswing start: hips, shoulders, arm and hand.

Note: In the following text, we will consider that (as far as rotational speeds are concerned): Hips and Pelvis are equivalent, Shoulders and Thorax (Upper Torso) are equivalent and  Club, Hand, Glove Sensor are equivalent.

Whatever their style, all Professional golfers' swings have something in common: The backswing/downswing transition sequence and speed peaks are in the same order.

This has been demonstrated by Phil Cheetham

The following curves represents segments rotational speeds versus time of a "perfect" swing.

Segments Rotational Speed
T1,T2,T3 and T4 represent the times when each body segment reverses rotation direction to start the downswing (transition).
S1,S2,S3 and S4 represent the times when each body segment reaches its maximum speed (peak)

There was a need to develop a light weight easy to use and affordable system that measures these four rotational speeds and then automatically analyzes their variations versus time to determine whether or not transitions and speed peaks are in the proper sequences.
This is exactly what the SWING TIMING MASTER does


SYSTEM'S DESCRIPTION

This system measures body segments’ rotational speeds using miniaturized gyroscopes (MEMS, Micro-Electro-Mechanical System).

From these measures we build the above curves and the system automatically performs  the analysis to check if the optimum conditions are met.


Current System displays this information either as the above graph or in a more intuitive manner as follows:

Good Swing Bad Swing
Result table for a good swing Result table for a bad swing
The values (in milliseconds) indicate when every segment reverses its rotation (column: Downswing Chronology) or,
when every segment reaches its maximum speed (column: Rotational Speed Peak). Time reference=hips rotation



The system is made of two units:
1) Data Acquisition and Transmission Unit (Electronic Unit), fitted on the golfer
2) Processing and Display Unit (PC, Tablet or Smart Phone), remote, in front of the golfer

Measures are collected by a microprocessor card within the Electronic Unit and are transmitted to an Android based device through Bluetooth.

Principle STM & Android tablet

Data Acquisition & Transmission Unit:

This electronic unit has the size of a cigarette pack; and contains the power supply, a microprocessor, a blue tooth transmitter, some other electronics components and the hips sensor. The other three sensors (shoulders, arm and hand ) are  deasy-chained to the Electronic Unit thanks to a small cable.
Sensors are highly integrated MEMS 3axis gyroscope
The sensors are held by lightweight braces and belts, the hand sensor is Velcroed into the glove
Processing and display unit:
The data acquisition and display unit could be interfaced to any terminal with blue tooth capacities. This Unit receives and analyzes the data and displays the results either in a graphical manner (curves) or in synthetic tables.
For the time being, only an Android version has been developed. Android tablets with 7" screen minimum are best suited for legibility, but smartphone could also be used.
The Apple iOS version could also be easily developed.

Features:
- The system is autonomous it does not require any golfer’s intervention between records
- The system filters out movements that are not real swings
- Swing qualities (downswing sequence and speed peaks) are extracted and displayed
- Swing duration is computed, Top swing time and Impact time automatically extracted
- Swing plane changes are indicated
- Hips and Shoulder angles are displayed
- Graphs and zoom of downswing transition are available
- Swings can be recorded (Tagged by player’s name and date & time)
- Swing quality is coded into the file’s name
- Replay of recorded swings on the Android tablet
- Records can be replayed using Exceltm (provides more details, all sensors axis are available)
- Multilingual: French/English/Spanish, other languages can be added
- Keeps preferences (player’s name and language)
- Records can be replayed and synchronized with high-speed video using Exceltm
- Left or right handed
- No alignment required
- Can be used for other sports than Golf (Base Ball)

Advantages over existing products:
- Less expensive (5 to 10 times)
- Measure four main segments, not only one single segment (hand or Club) like many products do on the market
- Lighter weight
- Only measures meaningful parameters
- Results display is very intuitive
- Capability to do additional data analysis using Exceltm
- High-speed video synchronization option (Exceltm)
- Operates on any kind of Android tablet or smart-phone

Main Characteristics:
- Gyroscopes’ Dynamic: +/- 2000 deg per second per axis (3 axis per sensor)
- Sampling rate: 163 Hz
- Bluetooth 1 (10 meters range)
- Power supply: USB rechargeable Lipo
- Packaged Sensor Size: 1.5 cmx0.9 cmx0.5 cm
- Weight: Electronic Unit 99 gr., Cable & 3 sensors 28 gr.( each sensor weight less than 2gr.).
- This weight can be reduced for mass production

Installation:
- Easy to install, light weight, not intrusive.
- One adjustable belt for Electronic Unit attachment
- One shoulder strap for  shoulder/thorax sensor
- One arm band strap for arm sensor
- The glove is used to attach hand sensor

Installation

Screen Shots:

Home Screen Archived Files Selection
Home Screen
Selection Archived Files
Example of a Good Swing Graph Example of a Good Swing Analyzis
Example of a Good Swing Graph
Example of a Good Swing Analyse
Example of a Bad Swing Graph Example of a Bad Swing Analyzis
Example of a Bad Swing Graph
Example of a Bad Swing Analyze

Although the system automatically performs the speeds' analysis, the curves can further be visually analyzed by checking the shapes (smoothness) of the curves between the orange vertical line (start of downswing) and the green vertical line (ball impact time). See the difference between the "Good" and the "Bad" examples.
In the "Bad" plot, we can also see the "Hand" curve separating from the others three at the beginning of the downswing , this is a sign of "Casting".

Other plots are available:
- Backswing/Downswing transition zoom
- Hand graph showing all three axes of the hand sensor, this provide a very valuable information about the wrist release time)
- Hips and Shoulders angles (on the main graph)



DEVELOPMENT STATUS
Five prototypes have been built and thousands of records have been performed with player of different handicap.
Current design is very stable and could be produce as is, but some optimization are still possible (packaging, blue tooth robustness, etc,etc...)
Electromagnetic Compatibility testing (EMI, EMC) has not yet been performed

Schematics, drawings, sources codes and instructions are available.
Training methods and drills still need to be further developed.


Intellectual Property
Different Patents have been filled:
    - French Patent Request number 3.000.682 published (BOPI) July 11th, 2014
    - International Patent (WO2014108633A1) Published July 17th 2014.

GROWTH POTENTIAL
 

As design today, this system only uses gyro MEMS in order to keep cost low whilst recording needed parameters
These sensors could be replaced by 9 DOF (Degrees of Freedom) sensors (whith same footprint) to record all angles and orientations.

This system could be easily used in conjunction with high speed video recording. Video frames can be synchronized with Swing Timing Master recordings using a dedicated procedure.


VIDEO:
Example of recording synchronized with high speed video
 

Note: loading could be lengthy.... (Select High Definition on Youtube)


Furthermore, when recorded files are replayed using Exceltm, more detailed information is available because all three axes per sensor are accessible.

POTENTIAL MARKET

Golf Players quantity:
This system can be used by both, recreational and professionals golfers.
Recreational or beginners will understand how to move body segments and professionals will improve their game.
This is also a very valuable tool for instructors. What is measured is what is happening! And as the old saying goes: "You can only improve what you measure".

COMPETITION

Since the development of MEMS technology, the market as seen a lot of products being proposed. But performances and real interests varied a lot.

Some are very basic:

These are, either shaft mounted or glove mounted units (MEMS: Gyroscope, Accelerometer, magnetometer) that only measure one segment and provide nice graphics about Club path but don't tell you what went wrong with the others segments that caused the Club movement.

Example of devices: 3Bay GSA, Skypro, Noitom MySwing, Swing Byte, SwingTip, GolfSense, etc, etc.

Costs range from 129$ to 249$

Others are more sophisticated:

AMM Walk About 6D Golf (non MEMS based) needs a tripod mounted antenna. costs around 8 900$

AMM Sensor 9DOF (MEMS: Gyroscope, Accelerometer, magnetometer). One sensor is needed per segment. Each sensor costs around 1250$, hence to get four segments data, total cost is 5000$

K-Vest: 9DOF (MEMS: Gyroscope, Accelerometer, magnetometer). Three sensors (for three segments) system costs around 3500$

The Swing Timing Master, offers the best of the two above worlds, although it is simple (only Gyroscopes) its provide the only valuable piece of information that is needed, that is TIMING.

In addition the shape of the curves provide a very good indication  of the overall quality of the swing

Target price is around 500$

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


With more than 30 years in the aerospace industry, I'm a physicist by education and I'm also holding a Master degree in Micro-electronics.

My main challenge is to try to make things simple and affordable, this project is one of them, to provide everyone with a simple mean to show how his golf swing is and, more importantly, how to improve it.



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