Are you ready to become the master of the putter? Patience young one. Thanks to the electrical and mechanical engineering students who have joined forces at Rice University, end successfully your golfing quest you will, with the smart putter.
Part of Rice’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program, these undergrads have been working since 2013 to bring hardware, software and mechanics together to create a fully integrated smart putter to help you win the battle between grass, sand and lacking golf skills.
Jedi Putter Team: Using the force to guide
The first team of students, the Jedi Putter team, created a multisensory, training putter that uses real-time feedback to help golfers consistently hit the same spot every time. The head of the putter included an accelerometer to measure club speed, a magnetometer to tell if the club head is up or down, and a gyrometer for measuring rotation and to judge if the face of the club is twisting or aiming straight.
Sith Putter Team: The force is strong with this putter
The next wave of students, the Sith Putter team, built off the previous design by using a SimpleLink™ Bluetooth® low energy CC2540 wireless microcontroller to provide real-time performance measurements and feedback to a golfer, using a laser to guide the golfer and record things like hit motion, swing action and where the putter hits the ball.
Where the previous team used a cable to collect performance data, this new design enables the putter to become even more “smart” by wirelessly transferring user data to a phone. This use of wireless technology took the device a step up from just a prototype to a true working model for golfers.
The Sith Putter team's use of advanced technology put them light-years ahead of the competition, leading them to win “Best use of TI Wireless” in the 2015 TI Innovation Challenge North America Design Contest, which invites students to build innovative solutions to real-world challenges.
Like other multi-year project teams at the 15 universities in the VIP Consortium, student teams' projects continues year on year. The Rice putter teams' work improving the game of golfers around the galaxy has just begun.
The next wave of students to work on the device will develop software that enables the putter to send and receive messages over the Bluetooth® interface to a phone to tell the putter what tones to play. These tones will help the golfer align their swing and continue to enhance this advanced electronic product for the golfing market.
Until then, may the guiding force of technology be with you.