Real-time swing coaching - iTrainer Golf System
May 30, 2007 The sheer volume of literature produced with the aim of perfecting the golf swing could fill entire libraries, but the problem has always been how to successfully translate this information - or advice from a coach - into your own game. iTrainer Golf provides a solution through real-time analysis and swing correction. Using a Bluetooth module attached to the club, the sophisticated system uses 3D sensors to measure key aspects of your swing, compares them with an optimum swing profile and provides immediate feedback via a wireless headset.
Designed for both individuals and trainers, the system under development by Insight-sports.com utilizes a Sports Motion Capture Device (SMCD) that can be attached to the shaft of any club. The SMCD captures the swing dynamics in three dimensions via solid-state gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers originally developed for aerospace navigation and missile guidance systems. This information is then fed back through a PDA which contains the swing analysis software and provides audio feedback to the wireless headset.
The user can input information to the device through simple movements of the club and a Voice Control Module provides hands-free control of the PDA software using voice commands.
The robust SMCD unit adds negligible weight to the club at just 80 grams, a critical feature aimed at ensuring that the club has the same "feel" once the device is removed. It runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts for up to 8 hours of continuous use and training session data can also be uploaded to a PC for further analysis, including 3D modeling and swing animation which can be viewed from any angle. This analysis is produced from feedback on swing plane and body rotation and the system also predicts whether the ball will slice or hook by monitoring shaft rotation and estimating the club-face-angle at impact (although according to iTrainer's Chief Technology Officer & Founder Steve Sparrow the torque and flex of the club shaft has potential to marginally effect these readings). Impact with the ball is also analyzed through the vibration patterns the sensors receive. The system can even tell if you have hit the ground because this produces a different pattern to hitting a ball. When practicing "air-swings" the system will verify the quality of your swing and can accurately predict whether you would have made contact or not using information gathered on the orientation and motion of the club.
Other fundamental facets of golf such as sighting and alignment to the target can also be coached by the iTrainer.
As any golfer knows, there is more than one type of "optimium" swing depending on the age and skill of the player. To this end the iTrainer incorporates a wide range of swing profiles for recreational, amateur and professional golfers, making the device even more effective in the hands of a coach who knows your swing to begin with. Existing profiles can be altered and additional profiles can also be added.
The basic system can be expanded with the addition of up to eight sensors attached to key areas of the body - forehead, shoulders, base of the spine, elbows and knees - enabling a more sophisticated analysis of body orientation.
iTrainer point out that audio real-time feedback is proven as one of the most effective ways to improve technique, reinforce muscle memory and in turn bring down your handicap.
Others have made progress using the same principle of real-time feedback but to our knowledge this is the first interchangeable system developed for use on course with any club.
The potential for this device goes way beyond the golfing fairway - sports including tennis, baseball, archery, cricket, soccer and even lawn bowls could benefit from iTrainer's core technology in numerous ways.
The iTrainer is set for a market release early next year and the company is in the process of further developing the patent pending iTrainer on a global scale. Further information can be found at www.insight-sports.com.
"We are particularly keen to meet with potential OEM partners, and companies interested in licensing our technology," said Insight Sports' Marketing Director Steve Corbin.