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Patent Analysis of

Multiple sensor tracking system and method

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US9901804

Application Number

US15/420507

Application Date

31 January 2017

Publication Date

27 February 2018

Current Assignee

FLYINGTEE TECH, LLC

Original Assignee (Applicant)

ORIGIN, LLC

International Classification

A63B69/36,G01S13/86,G01S13/72,A63B71/06,A63B24/00

Cooperative Classification

A63B69/3691,A63B24/0021,A63B69/36,A63B71/0619,G01S13/72

Inventor

VOLLBRECHT, JAMES,VOLLBRECHT, JOHN,TAWWATER, RYAN

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US9901804 Multiple sensor tracking 1 US9901804 Multiple sensor tracking 2 US9901804 Multiple sensor tracking 3
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Abstract

A system and method for tracking the flight of golf balls at driving range. The invention includes a plurality of hitting stations, a plurality of sensors, a computer, and a range surface. Each hitting station in the plurality of hitting stations includes a golf ball, a golf club, a monitor, and a sensor. At least one other sensor in the plurality of sensors is placed outside the hitting station. The flight path of the golf ball is calculated by the computer using parameters by the plurality of sensors. The method includes steps for determining whether a first sensor detected a first parameter and a second parameter, whether a second sensor detected a first and a second parameter, whether a third sensor detected a third parameter, and depicting the flight path of the golf balls using the first parameter, the second parameter, and the third parameter.

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Claims

1. A multiple sensor system for tracking a golf ball, said system comprising: a first sensor having a first sensor type; said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters comprising a moment of impact with said golf ball; a second sensor having a second sensor type; said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type; said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters comprising a flight path of said golf ball; a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor; said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both to calculate a travel path of said golf ball when said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available; and a display in electronic communication with said computer; said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein said first plurality of parameters further comprises an origination position of said golf ball, a launch angle of said golf ball; a side spin of said golf ball, a vertical spin of said golf ball, an initial location of said golf ball, an impact point on said golf ball, a launch speed of said golf ball, a launch velocity of said golf ball, or a combination thereof.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein said first plurality of parameters further comprises a golf club head path, a club head speed, a golf club head velocity, or a combination thereof.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein said second plurality of parameters further comprises three-dimensional coordinates of said flight path, a launch angle of said golf ball; a side spin of said golf ball, a vertical spin of said golf ball, an initial location of said golf ball, an impact point on said golf ball, a launch speed of said golf ball, a launch velocity of said golf ball, or a combination thereof.

5. The system of claim 1 further comprising a third sensor having a third sensor type; said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type; said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters comprising a ground path of said golf ball.

6. The system of claim 5 wherein said third plurality of parameters further comprises three-dimensional coordinates of said ground path, a resting point of said golf ball, or a combination thereof.

7. The system of claim 5 wherein said computer is configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, and said third plurality of parameters.

8. The system of claim 1 wherein said first sensor type is an infrared sensor, a radar sensor, a pressure sensors, a sound sensor, a laser sensor, an infrared camera, a visible light camera, or a combination thereof.

9. The system of claim 8 wherein said first sensor type is an infrared directional trip sensor.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein said first sensor type further comprises an infrared light beam emitter and an infrared light beam detector.

11. The system of claim 1 wherein said second sensor type is an infrared sensor, a radar sensor, a pressure sensors, a sound sensor, a laser sensor, an infrared camera, a visible light camera, or a combination thereof.

12. The system of claim 11 wherein said second sensor type is a radar sensor.

13. The system of claim 5 wherein said third sensor type is a narrow-angle camera to detect three-dimensional coordinates of said ground path.

14. The system of claim 1, further comprising: said first sensor configured to detect said first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection of said moment of impact of said golf ball; said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said moment of impact of said golf ball; and said second sensor configured to detect said second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection of said flight path of said golf ball; said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said flight path of said golf ball.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

16. The system of claim 14 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

17. The system of claim 14 further comprising a third sensor having a third sensor type; said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type; said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters associated with a third field of detection; said third field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a ground path of said golf ball.

18. The system of claim 17 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection provide for an unobstructed view of said travel path of said golf ball.

19. The system of claim 18 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

20. The system of claim 18 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

21. A multiple sensor system for tracking a golf ball, said system comprising: a first sensor having a first sensor type; said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection comprising a moment of impact with said golf ball, said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said moment of impact of said golf ball; a second sensor having a second sensor type; said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type; said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection comprising a flight path of said golf ball, said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said flight path of said golf ball; a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor; said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both to calculate a travel path of said golf ball when both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available; and a display in electronic communication with said computer; said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.

22. The system of claim 21 wherein said first plurality of parameters further comprises an origination position of said golf ball, a launch angle of said golf ball; a side spin of said golf ball, a vertical spin of said golf ball, an initial location of said golf ball, an impact point on said golf ball, a launch speed of said golf ball, a launch velocity of said golf ball, a golf club head path, a club head speed, a golf club head velocity or a combination thereof.

23. The system of claim 21 wherein said second plurality of parameters further comprises three-dimensional coordinates of said flight path, a launch angle of said golf ball; a side spin of said golf ball, a vertical spin of said golf ball, an initial location of said golf ball, an impact point on said golf ball, a launch speed of said golf ball, a launch velocity of said golf ball, or a combination thereof.

24. The system of claim 21 further comprising a third sensor having a third sensor type; said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type; said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters comprising a ground path of said golf ball.

25. The system of claim 24 wherein said third plurality of parameters further comprises three-dimensional coordinates of said ground path, a resting point of said golf ball, or a combination thereof.

26. The system of claim 24 wherein said computer is configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, and said third plurality of parameters.

27. The system of claim 21, further comprising: said first sensor configured to detect said first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection; said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a moment of impact of said golf ball; and said second sensor configured to detect said second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection; said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a flight path of said golf ball.

28. The system of claim 27 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

29. The system of claim 27 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

30. The system of claim 27 further comprising a third sensor having a third sensor type; said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type; said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters associated with a third field of detection; said third field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a ground path of said golf ball.

31. The system of claim 30 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection provide for an unobstructed view of said travel path of said golf ball.

32. The system of claim 31 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

33. The system of claim 31 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

34. A golf ball driving range having a range surface and at least one hitting station, said driving range comprising: a first sensor positioned in said hitting station; said first sensor having a first sensor type and a first field of detection; said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters associated with a travel path of a golf ball; a second sensor positioned adjacent to said range surface; said second sensor having a second sensor type and a second field of detection; said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type; said second field of detection being different from said first field of detection; said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters associated with said travel path of said golf ball; a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor; said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both when both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available; said computer further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball from said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both; and a display in electronic communication with said computer; said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.

35. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said computer is further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said first plurality of parameters when said second plurality of parameters is unavailable.

36. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said computer is further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said second plurality of parameters when said first plurality of parameters is unavailable.

37. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said computer is configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball from said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters.

38. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said first plurality of parameters comprises a moment of impact of said golf ball and wherein said second plurality of parameters comprises a flight path of said golf ball.

39. The driving range of claim 34 further comprising a third sensor having a third sensor type and a third field of detection; said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type; said third field of detection being different from said first field of detection and said second field of detection; said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters associated with said travel path of said golf ball.

40. The driving range of claim 39 wherein said third plurality of parameters comprises a ground path of said golf ball.

41. The driving range of claim 39 wherein said computer is configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, and said third plurality of parameters.

42. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

43. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

44. The driving range of claim 34 wherein said first field of detection and said second field of detection provide for an unobstructed view of said travel path of said golf ball.

45. The driving range of claim 39 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection provide for an unobstructed view of said travel path of said golf ball.

46. The driving range of claim 45 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.

47. The driving range of claim 45 wherein said first field of detection, said second field of detection, said third field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A multiple sensor system for tracking a golf ball, said system comprising:
    • a first sensor having a first sensor type
    • said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters comprising a moment of impact with said golf ball
    • a second sensor having a second sensor type
    • said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type
    • said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters comprising a flight path of said golf ball
    • a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor
    • said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both to calculate a travel path of said golf ball when said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available
    • and a display in electronic communication with said computer
    • said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.
    • 2. The system of claim 1 wherein
      • said first plurality of parameters further comprises
    • 4. The system of claim 1 wherein
      • said second plurality of parameters further comprises
    • 5. The system of claim 1 further comprising
      • a third sensor having a third sensor type
      • said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type
      • said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters comprising a ground path of said golf ball.
    • 8. The system of claim 1 wherein
      • said first sensor type is an infrared sensor, a radar sensor, a pressure sensors, a sound sensor, a laser sensor, an infrared camera, a visible light camera, or a combination thereof.
    • 11. The system of claim 1 wherein
      • said second sensor type is an infrared sensor, a radar sensor, a pressure sensors, a sound sensor, a laser sensor, an infrared camera, a visible light camera, or a combination thereof.
    • 14. The system of claim 1, further comprising:
      • said first sensor configured to detect said first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection of said moment of impact of said golf ball
      • said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said moment of impact of said golf ball
      • and said second sensor configured to detect said second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection of said flight path of said golf ball
      • said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said flight path of said golf ball.
  • 21
    21. A multiple sensor system for tracking a golf ball, said system comprising:
    • a first sensor having a first sensor type
    • said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection comprising a moment of impact with said golf ball, said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said moment of impact of said golf ball
    • a second sensor having a second sensor type
    • said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type
    • said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection comprising a flight path of said golf ball, said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of said flight path of said golf ball
    • a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor
    • said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both to calculate a travel path of said golf ball when both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available
    • and a display in electronic communication with said computer
    • said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.
    • 22. The system of claim 21 wherein
      • said first plurality of parameters further comprises
    • 23. The system of claim 21 wherein
      • said second plurality of parameters further comprises
    • 24. The system of claim 21 further comprising
      • a third sensor having a third sensor type
      • said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type
      • said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters comprising a ground path of said golf ball.
    • 27. The system of claim 21, further comprising:
      • said first sensor configured to detect said first plurality of parameters associated with a first field of detection
      • said first field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a moment of impact of said golf ball
      • and said second sensor configured to detect said second plurality of parameters associated with a second field of detection
      • said second field of detection having a substantially unobstructed view of a flight path of said golf ball.
  • 34
    34. A golf ball driving range having
    • a range surface and at least one hitting station, said driving range comprising: a first sensor positioned in said hitting station
    • said first sensor having a first sensor type and a first field of detection
    • said first sensor configured to detect a first plurality of parameters associated with a travel path of a golf ball
    • a second sensor positioned adjacent to said range surface
    • said second sensor having a second sensor type and a second field of detection
    • said second sensor type being different from said first sensor type
    • said second field of detection being different from said first field of detection
    • said second sensor configured to detect a second plurality of parameters associated with said travel path of said golf ball
    • a computer in electronic communication with said first sensor and said second sensor
    • said computer configured to evaluate both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters to determine whether to use said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both when both said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters are available
    • said computer further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball from said first plurality of parameters, said second plurality of parameters, or both
    • and a display in electronic communication with said computer
    • said display configured to display said calculated travel path of said golf ball.
    • 35. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said computer is further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said first plurality of parameters when said second plurality of parameters is unavailable.
    • 36. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said computer is further configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball using said second plurality of parameters when said first plurality of parameters is unavailable.
    • 37. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said computer is configured to calculate said travel path of said golf ball from said first plurality of parameters and said second plurality of parameters.
    • 38. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said first plurality of parameters comprises
    • 39. The driving range of claim 34 further comprising
      • a third sensor having a third sensor type and a third field of detection
      • said third sensor type being different from said first sensor type and from said second sensor type
      • said third field of detection being different from said first field of detection and said second field of detection
      • said third sensor configured to detect a third plurality of parameters associated with said travel path of said golf ball.
    • 42. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said first field of detection and said second field of detection do not have overlapping fields of detection.
    • 43. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said first field of detection and said second field of detection have overlapping fields of detection.
    • 44. The driving range of claim 34 wherein
      • said first field of detection and said second field of detection provide for an unobstructed view of said travel path of said golf ball.
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Description

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable.

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING APPENDIX

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING PRIOR DISCLOSURES BY THE INVENTOR OR A JOINT INVENTOR

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to the field of tracking golf balls, and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to systems for using a plurality of sensors to facilitate the depiction of that path on a display.

2. Description of the Related Art

The game of golf has remained a popular hobby and recreational activity since it was invented several centuries ago. Part of the popularity of golf comes from pursuing mastery of its various skills. Improving such skills requires frequent and consistent practice. Driving ranges are common venues used for such practice. At typical driving ranges, golfers can practice their swing. Recently, businesses have begun to open more advanced driving ranges intended to cater to the golfers' desires for other forms of entertainment and recreation. Such facilities include not only the typical driving range, but also restaurants, bars, and other entertainment options with which the golfer may choose to supplement their practice round. On such option is the inclusion of various virtual games related to the golf swing, such as those disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 14/321,333, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

In parallel to the appearance of such new golfing/entertainment facilities, various technologies have been employed to assist golfers in improving their game or enhancing the typical practice round. Such technologies include using rf chips, radar, lasers, or optical cameras to track the golfer's swing and the flight path of the golf ball, and to provide the golfer with useful feedback regarding both. Unfortunately, while each such technology is well-suited for tracking particular parameters of the golf swing or path of the golf ball, none is capable of uninterrupted tracking and providing the golfer with a comprehensive view of their swing and the resulting golf shot.

Accordingly, there is a need for a system and method to utilize the parameters captured by each such technology across a plurality of sensors and presents the resulting information in a meaningful manner to the golfer.

Other advantages and features will be apparent from the following description and from the claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In general, the invention relates to a driving range that includes a golf ball, a golf club, a hitting station, a range surface, a plurality of sensors, a computer, and a display. Each of the plurality of sensors is configured to detect at least one parameter related to the golf swing or flight path of the golf ball. Additionally, each sensor in the plurality of sensors is connected to the computer. The computer includes a processor and a database. The database is configured to store parameters related to the hitting station, each of the sensors in the plurality of sensors, the range surface, and the golf club. In addition, the database is configured to store the parameters detected by each of the sensors in the plurality of the sensors. Finally, the database is configured to store rules and methods that can be used to determine which sensor's parameters should be used to depict the golf swing and the flight path on the display. All parameters and rules stored in the database are stored in a manner that allows them to be retrieved and processed as needed by the processor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a back perspective view of a first embodiment of a multiple sensor tracking system at a driving range.

FIG. 2 shows an overhead view of a first embodiment of a multiple sensor tracking system at a driving range.

FIG. 3 shows an overhead view of a second embodiment of a multiple sensor tracking system at a driving range.

FIG. 4 shows an overhead view of a second embodiment of a multiple sensor tracking system with a plurality of hitting stations.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart depicting a method of determining which parameters should be used to depict a travel path.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a driving range 10 that includes at least one hitting station 100, at least one golf ball 110, at least one golf club 120, and a range surface 200. The hitting station 100 is positioned at one end of the range surface 200. It will be understood that a player 300 standing in the hitting station 100 may swing the golf club 120 to hit the golf ball 110 over and onto the range surface 200. Turning to FIG. 2, shown therein is the path that the golf ball 110 travels from the point of impact with the golf club 120 (referred to as the origination point 160) to the point that the golf ball 110 initially impacts the range surface 200 (referred to as the impact point 170). The path the golf ball 110 travel from the origination point 160 to the impact point 170 is referred to as the flight path 130. The path that the golf ball 110 travels from the impact point 170 to the point it comes to rest on the range surface 200 (referred to as the resting point 180) is referred to as the ground path 140. The total travel path 150 refers to the complete path that the golf ball 110 travels after the origination point 150 to the resting point 180, and is equivalent to the combination of the flight path 130 and the ground path 140. FIGS. 2 and 3 depict the flight path 130, ground path 140 and total travel path 150 of a golf ball 110.

Turning back to FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the invention, a multiple sensor tracking system specially configured to track the total travel path 150 of the golf balls 110 used at a driving range 10 and to display that total travel path 150 to the player 300. The multiple sensor tracking system includes a plurality of sensors 410, 420, and 430, a display 450, and a computer having a processor and a database.

Each sensor in the plurality of sensors is configured to record certain parameters about the total travel path 150. Such parameters may include, without any limitation, the detection of the moment of impact, the origination point 150, the launch angle of the flight path 130, side spin of the golf ball 110, vertical spin of the golf ball 110, initial location of the golf ball 110, the impact point 160, speed/velocity of the golf ball 100 on the flight path 130, the three-dimensional coordinates of the flight path 130, the three-dimensional coordinates of the ground path 140, and the resting point 180. In addition, certain sensors may be configured to detect other parameters related to the golf swing of the player 300, including but not limited to the club path and the club speed/velocity.

It will be understood that by those skilled in the art that there are numerous types of sensors and technologies available for the detection of parameters, including for example and without limitation, infrared beam sensors, radar sensors, pressure sensors, sound sensors, laser sensors, and cameras (both infrared and visible light). It will be further understood that certain sensors are capable of detecting a subset of the total parameters available about the total travel path 150. For example, infrared beam sensors are particularly well-suited for detecting the moment of impact, but are not able to detect or otherwise determine the sidespin of the golf ball 110, the impact point 170, or other similar parameters. In contrast, sophisticated camera sensors are available that are well-suited to determine the parameters related to the flight path 130, such as direction, speed and the impact point 170, but are not as accurate at determining parameters associated with the ground path 140, such as the resting point 180. By way of further example, radar sensors are particularly well suited to detect the side spin and vertical spin of the golf ball 110 on the initial flight path 130, as well as the club path and club head speed, but unable to determine parameters associated with the ground path 140.

In addition to being configured to detect certain parameters, each sensor type also has a field of detection. The field of detection is the general area in front of the sensor from which the sensor can detect parameters. It will be understood that the field of detection can be adjusted for each sensor type, but may be restrained by the particular technology used to detect parameters. Furthermore, the position of each sensor may affect its field of detection. For example, FIG. 2 depicts a sensor 410 positioned in the back of a hitting station 100, with a field of detection 411. In such a position, the view of the flight path 130 by sensor 410 can be obscured by the golfer, or the divisions between each of the hitting stations 100. Such obstructions often adversely impact a sensor's ability to detect parameters.

A key improvement of the invention is the placement of other sensors in the plurality of sensors such that their respective fields of detection 411, 421, and 431 are not similarly obstructed. It will be therefore understood that such placements can thereby ensure a high probability that the combined fields of detection 411, 421, and 431 provide for an uninterrupted view of the total travel path (150). For example, in the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, the fields of detection 411, 421 and 431 for each of the sensors 410, 420 and 430 respectively are shown to overlap, yet cover different areas where the golf ball 110 might travel on the total travel path 150.

It will be understood that numerous embodiments of the multiple-sensor tracking system are possible by including different types of sensors 410, 420, 430 in the plurality of sensors, and positioning those sensors at different places within the driving range 10. FIG. 2 depicts one such embodiment. It will be further understood that a driving range 10 may include a plurality of hitting stations 100 arranged in a curve around an end of the range surface 200, as depicted in FIG. 4. A first-type sensor 410 is positioned at the back of each of the hitting stations 100. In this embodiment, first-type sensor 410 uses radar to detect club path, club face angle, launch angle, side spin, vertical spin and initial velocity. A second-type sensor 430 is positioned at another end of the range surface 200, and is generally positioned to face a plurality of hitting stations 110, as shown in FIG. 4. The second-type sensor 430 has a narrower field of detection 431 and is thus used to detect parameters related to the ground path 140. In this embodiment, the second-type sensor uses narrow-angle cameras to detect the three-dimensional coordinates of the ground path 140 and the speed/velocity of the golf ball 110. It will be understood that while only one sensor 430 is depicted in this embodiment, several second-type sensors 430 could be used in combination to detect parameters for ground paths 150 that occur in different places on the range surface 200.

In the depicted embodiment, two third-type sensors 430 are positioned at opposite ends of the plurality of hitting stations 100. The third-type sensors are configured to face inwards towards the range surface 200 and have overlapping fields of detection 421. Such overlapping fields of detections 421 are either necessary for certain types of sensors, or can be optionally employed to improve the accuracy of the detected parameters.

Turning to FIGS. 3 and 4, depicted therein are alternate embodiments of the multiple-sensor tracking system wherein the first-type sensors 410 of the first embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 have been replaced with a fourth-type sensor 460. It will be understood that in the depicted alternative embodiments, the fourth-type sensor 460 is configured to be a simple infrared directional trip sensor. Such sensor 460 includes a beam emitter and a beam detector positioned on opposite sides of the hitting station 100. In the simplest embodiment, the beam emitted of sensor 460 sends an infrared light beam to the other side of the hitting station 100 where it is detected by the beam detector. It will be further understood that when the golf ball 110 is hit it will travel between the beam detector and the beam emitter of sensor 460, and will thereby interrupt the infrared light beam being detected by the beam detector. In this manner, sensor 460 is able to identify when the flight path 130 begins, but is unable to detect other more advanced parameters associated with the total travel path 150.

The database of the computer stores all parameters necessary for the multiple-sensor tracking system, which may include the size, shape and location of the hitting station, the location of each of the sensors in the plurality of sensors, the parameters that each of the sensors in the plurality of sensors can detect, the location and boundaries of the range surface 200, and the number, expected distance and trajectory of shots hit with the selected golf club 120. Such parameters are retrieved by the processor as needed to operate the multiple-sensor tracking system.

It will be understood that by using multiple sensors 410, 420, and 430 (or alternatively 460, 420 and 430), the multiple-sensor tracking system is able to capture certain desired parameters of the total travel path 150. Because the sensors 410, 420 and 430 may detect the same parameters, a method is necessary to determine which parameters should be chosen to depict the total travel path 150 on the display 450. FIG. 5 depicts a method for making such determinations.

The method of FIG. 5 begins in step 500 when the golf ball 110 is struck by the golf club 120. The moment of impact is potentially detected by sensor 410 in step 504 (or alternatively by sensor 460 as described above). If sensor 410 detects the moment of impact, processing is transferred to step 506. In step 506, the computer uses the launch angle, initial velocity and origination position to estimate three-dimensional coordinates of the flight path 130 and an estimated impact point 170. In the first embodiment, the launch angle, initial velocity and origination position are all parameters that can be detected by sensor 410. Processing is then passed to step 508.

The purpose of step 508 is to determine if the sensors 420 have detected a golf shot that corresponds to the golf shot that was detected by the sensor 410 from step 504. This is done by comparing the estimated three-dimensional parameters from step 506 with the actual three-dimensional parameters detected by the sensors 420. It will be understood that in the typical driving range 10 there may be several different golf shots being tracked at any given time, such as those depicted in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, sensors 420 may detect actual three-dimensional parameters for many if not each flight path 130 associated with each such golf shot. Accordingly, in step 508, the computer first collects the actual three-dimensional parameters associated with each flight path 130 that was detected by sensors 420 during the time window when sensor 410 captured the parameters that were processed in step 506. The particular duration of the time window may depend on the types of sensors used, the weather conditions, the particular arrangement of the plurality of the hitting stations 100 on the driving range 10, the size and shape of the range surface, the positioning of the plurality of sensors, or any other condition that might effect the amount of time that a golf ball 110 could be expected to travel in each of the respective fields of detection 411, 421, 431. After capturing the actual three-dimensional parameters of the flight path 130 for the appropriate time window, the computer then compares such actual three-dimensional parameters for each flight path 130 with the estimated three-dimensional coordinates of flight path 130 and determines if any of the actual three-dimensional parameters correspond to the estimated three-dimensional parameters.

Such correspondence may be immediately apparent because the actual three-dimensional coordinates overlap a portion of the estimated three-dimensional coordinates. Alternatively, where the actual three-dimensional coordinates do not begin with actual origination position, the computer can calculate an estimated origination position 160 by extrapolating the three-dimensional parameters of the flight path 130 backwards. The estimated origination positions 160 (and actual origination positions 160 detected by the sensors 420 to the extent they exist) for each of the flight paths 130 are then compared to the actual origination position 160 detected by the sensor 410. If a corresponding actual/estimated origination position 160 detected by sensors 420 is found for the actual origination position 160 detected by sensor 410 is found, then processing proceeds to step 510. If no corresponding actual/estimated origination position 160 is detected by sensors 420, then processing proceeds to step 514.

In step 514 the flight path 130 is depicted on the display 450 using the three-dimensional parameters detected by sensor 420. In step 510 the flight path 130 is depicted on the display450 using the three-dimensional parameters detected by sensor 410, or where sensor 410 did not detect three-dimensional parameters for the entire flight path 130, the computer will estimate any missing three-dimensional parameters by extrapolating the detected three-dimensional parameters along a parabolic curve.

Processing is then transferred to step 516 wherein sensor 430 potentially detects parameters associated with the ground path 140 of the golf ball 120. If sensor 430 detects parameters associated with the ground path 140, then in step 520, the total travel path 150 is depicted as continuing from the depicted flight path 130 using the parameters for the ground path 140 detected by sensor 430. It will be understood that in a typical driving range 10, sensor 430 may detect parameters for the ground path 140 of many different golf shots (as shown in FIG. 4). Accordingly, in step 516 the computer will attempt to align the parameters for the ground path 140 with the corresponding flight path 130. This is accomplished by taking the three-dimensional parameters used to depict the flight path 130 and calculating an estimated impact point 170. If sensor 430 detects parameters for the ground path 140 that correspond to the estimated point of impact, then processing proceeds to step 520. If sensor 430 does not detect parameters that correspond to the estimated impact point 170, then processing proceeds to step 518.

In step 518, the computer calculates parameters for the ground path 140 and depicts that ground path 130 on the display 450. This calculation is done by using the parameters used to depict the flight path 130, which may include an actual/estimated speed/velocity and direction as well as parameters that describe the effect of the friction between the range surface 200 and the golf ball 130. In step 520, the ground path 130 is depicted on the display 450 using the actual parameters for the ground path 130 that were detected by sensor 430.

If sensor 410 fails to detect the moment of impact in step 504, then processing moves to step 512 wherein sensor 420 potentially detects parameters associated with the flight path 130. If sensor 410 fails to detect the moment of impact, but sensor 420 detects parameters associated with the flight path 130, then processing is transferred to step 514. If sensor 410 fails to detect the moment of impact and sensor 420 fails to detect any parameters associated with the flight path 130, then processing returns back to step 500.

It is to be understood that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of various embodiments of the invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and functions of various embodiments of the invention, this disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of structure and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the teachings of the invention can be applied to other systems without departing from the scope of the invention.

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33.0/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

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90.0/100 Score

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73.75/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

41.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

20.01/100 Score

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Manners of Using a Sports Ball Parameter Determining Instrument 13 December 2004 23 October 2008
Method of and an Apparatus for Determining Information Relating to a Projectile, Such as a Golf Ball TRACKMAN A/S 23 May 2005 20 December 2007
Golf range with automated ranging system KELLOGG NORMAN,MABRY FRANK W,HOM WAYNE 14 July 2006 05 April 2007
Detecting movement characteristics of an object COLLINS ROBERT J. 11 December 2000 08 August 2002
Method and an Apparatus For Determining a Parameter of a Path of a Sports Ball on the Basis of a Launch Position Thereof TRACKMAN A/S 01 July 2005 12 June 2008
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