It seems you can get just about anything from vending machines these days. From shoes to flowers and ice cream to gold it can all be had by slotting a bit of cash into a machine – or in the case of the gold vending machine, a lot of cash or a credit card with a decent limit. Now there’s another unlikely vending machine offering in the form of the RoboPutt, a robotic vending machine that will dole out a five minute putting lesson for the cost of a decent golf ball.
While other putting machines rely on the user performing the swing to which the machine provides feedback, RoboPutt does the moving for you to reinforce a good swing. By repeating a perfect swing over and over, RoboPutt is designed to build muscle memory so you can repeat the swing out on the greens.
The machine is intended for golf clubs and shops where a golf pro will enter the user’s personal information and record their current putting stroke. This is done through the use of a small device called “DiGi” that clips onto the shaft of the user’s putter. Once attached the user plays a few 10 ft (3 m) putts until they find a swing they’re happy with – since DiGi is a self contained device it can be taken out onto the greens if required. DiGi is then removed and wirelessly transmits the stroke data to the RoboPutt computer at the press of a button.
Users then attach their own putter to the RoboPutt machine and choose from an introductory stroke selection lesson, a course of 10 progressive training lessons or ongoing drills via a touchscreen interface with tips and advice (and confidence building) relayed via a pair of wireless headphones. The user’s stroke data, personal information and progress are stored on a magnetic card so users can practice their putt on any RoboPutt machine.
For users, a four to five minute lesson costs around US$5, and since this is where RoboPutt will make its money, the company will provide RoboPutt machines to qualified pro shops, golf schools and training facilities worldwide free of charge – although “well-qualified buyers” can also purchase their own customized, individual units.
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