Smart Golf Balls

Hello!
 
 I am a graduate student from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
I am a Mechanical Engineer and I am a little bit lost with embedded systems... :(
 
I am working on the final project of my studies and I am trying to develop a trackable golf ball. I was thinking about using a Bluetooth LE device which would be allocated on the core of the ball. It should be as small and light as possible and I was wondering if it would be possible to be a cubic, spheric, cylindrical or other shape instead of flat like the regular ones, so the surface could be reduced and it would affect less to the dynamics of the ball.
Which would be the approximated minimum surface of a bluetooth LE device? 
if it is possible to do it in a cubic shape what could be approximately the size of each surface?
And do you know an approximately minimum weight that could be reached for the device?
 
Thank you so much for your time and help.

Comments

  • 12 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Have you thought about impact-resistance?

    Kenichi
  • With 4000 pounds of force on the ball when driven, I'd not just be worried about the balance etc, but what happens to the electronics on impact.
  • I got this from one of erco's posts, I dont think there is any electronics that can take this:
    640 x 435 - 45K
    Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it. _Albert Einstein
  • During Christmas I was in Naperville, IL and went to this place called "Top Golf". It's sorta an amusement park / driving range concept where the balls have RFID tags in them, matched to the player at the time of T-off. You drive them out into various holes, traps and features to score points.

    Would RFID work in your application? If so, I'm thinking you could go to Top Golf and get some of their balls, do a bit of research on the internet about how they work, and maybe read them yourself.

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    During Christmas I was in Naperville, IL and went to this place called "Top Golf". It's sorta an amusement park / driving range concept where the balls have RFID tags in them, matched to the player at the time of T-off. You drive them out into various holes, traps and features to score points.

    Do you know when they applied the score ?

    RFID usually have quite limited range, especially when a lot want to chatter at the same time.

    I could see a read-at-collect system working on a driving range, where the person collecting has GPS + RFID
    or maybe, a reasonable number of buried readers, within the point-score-zones could work.
  • What would be cool is if you could implement some sort of piezoelectric impact energy harvesting device inside the golf ball so it gets power by the impact force of hitting the ball. This could be stored in some sort of capacitor implementation so the charge stays for a period of time which would be handy for tracking the ball. Maybe even going into a periodic beacon mode to it does not stay powered on all the time when it stops moving but rather powers up just enough to power the MCU and send a datagram for tracking the ball if it gets lost in the woods or Irish type rough.

    You could even use the changing shape of the ball at impact to generate energy and design the electronics so they are not as rigid as on a PCB.
  • jmg wrote: »

    Do you know when they applied the score ?


    jmg, I found this article that helps to explain when the rfid is is read. There are 500 target segments out in the play field. At each target there's a net that collects the balls. The balls pass through a box that reads the rfid and updates a computer which tells the player which target the ball hit. The article states that the manufacturer tests the durability of the ball by firing it out of a canon, into steel plates. Yikes!


    Ken, they actually opened up a new Topgolf close to Parallax headquarters, in Roseville, I believe last year! I have some family in the area and noticed it as I was driving on hwy 65. It looks like a fun way to play golf.

  • MrBi11 wrote: »
    With 4000 pounds of force on the ball when driven, I'd not just be worried about the balance etc, but what happens to the electronics on impact.

    Yes, that could be a problem. Thats the reason why I am thinking about the possible minimum size, because if it is too big the electronics would not resist the impact for sure.
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    During Christmas I was in Naperville, IL and went to this place called "Top Golf". It's sorta an amusement park / driving range concept where the balls have RFID tags in them, matched to the player at the time of T-off. You drive them out into various holes, traps and features to score points.

    Would RFID work in your application? If so, I'm thinking you could go to Top Golf and get some of their balls, do a bit of research on the internet about how they work, and maybe read them yourself.

    Ken Gracey
    I went there to try that system. The concept is really interesting. They have 200,000 golf balls containing passive RFID tag chip with a unique number encoded on it read at 548 points along the fairway, to help golfers view how far their balls reach after a hit. Thus, when a ball lands on the netting surrounding a target, it rolls past an RFID reader antenna, thereby identifying where the ball has landed and awarding points accordingly and then the player can see on the screen where his or her ball landed. The problem with the use of this technology is that it is only possible in practice courts and the capital investment is enormous.
  • JonM wrote: »
    What would be cool is if you could implement some sort of piezoelectric impact energy harvesting device inside the golf ball so it gets power by the impact force of hitting the ball. This could be stored in some sort of capacitor implementation so the charge stays for a period of time which would be handy for tracking the ball. Maybe even going into a periodic beacon mode to it does not stay powered on all the time when it stops moving but rather powers up just enough to power the MCU and send a datagram for tracking the ball if it gets lost in the woods or Irish type rough.

    You could even use the changing shape of the ball at impact to generate energy and design the electronics so they are not as rigid as on a PCB.

    That sounds pretty well actually. I will investigate more about it.
    Thank you so much
  • fjmandrel,

    Is your intention to track the ball's movement or locate it should the player lose track of it?

    Also be aware that balls commonly end up in water hazards.
    I don't know exactly how many balls we collected one year when the water level dropped so low that you could see all the balls just sitting there in the muck.
  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 15
    edited February 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think the photos showing the extreme golf ball deformation are stills captured from a misleading video on YouTube (search for golf ball, steel plate). It's one of those foam 'toy' golf balls. Look around on YouTube and you can find several high speed videos of real golf balls being hit at about 160 mph. Of course, they show plenty of deformation, but nowhere near the jelly-like appearance in the photos up thread.
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