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Publication numberUS20030054327 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/957,223
Publication dateMar 20, 2003
Filing dateSep 20, 2001
Priority dateSep 20, 2001
Also published asWO2003024544A1
Publication number09957223, 957223, US 2003/0054327 A1, US 2003/054327 A1, US 20030054327 A1, US 20030054327A1, US 2003054327 A1, US 2003054327A1, US-A1-20030054327, US-A1-2003054327, US2003/0054327A1, US2003/054327A1, US20030054327 A1, US20030054327A1, US2003054327 A1, US2003054327A1
InventorsMark Evensen
Original AssigneeEvensen Mark H.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Repetitive motion feedback system and method of practicing a repetitive motion
US 20030054327 A1
Abstract
A repetitive motion feedback system is provided with various sensors and devices for monitoring aspects of a repetitive motion sequence, such as a golf swing. The monitored aspects can include motion properties of an object moved by the user, position properties of the user and motion properties of the user. A data processing system for receiving data of the monitored aspects provides feedback data that is provided to a feedback output device, such as a graphical display device or speaker, so that the user is provided with feedback regarding the repetitive motion sequence. In one particular embodiment, the user's performance is compared to a template of a prior performance, with feedback being provided regarding the differences.
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Claims(43)
I claim:
1. A method of practicing a repetitive motion by an individual comprising:
having the individual perform a repetitive motion sequence;
monitoring a combination of at least two of properties a, b and c during the motion sequence, wherein the properties a, b and c are comprised of:
(a) motion properties of an object moved by the individual during the repetitive motion sequence;
(b) position properties of the individual during the motion sequence; and
(c) movement properties of the individual during the motion sequence; and
graphically displaying information relating to the properties of the monitored combination simultaneously with or immediately after the repetitive motion sequence on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the information upon performing the repetitive motion sequence.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
providing a repetitive motion template of a previously monitored combination of a repetitive motion sequence;
comparing the newly monitored repetitive motion sequence to the repetitive motion template; and
providing feedback to the individual based upon differences in the newly monitored repetitive motion sequence to the repetitive motion template.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein:
providing feedback includes providing audio feedback.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein:
the audio feedback is verbal feedback.
5. The method of claim 2, wherein:
providing feedback includes providing visual feedback on the graphical display device.
6. The method of claim 2, wherein:
the repetitive motion template is a previously monitored repetitive motion sequence of the individual.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
storing the properties of the monitored combination in a data storage device.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the repetitive motion sequence includes a golf swing; and
the object moved includes a golf ball and golf club.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the combination includes all of the elements a, b and c.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the position properties of the individual include the position properties of the individual's feet.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the position properties of the individual include the weight distribution of the individual.
12. A repetitive motion feedback system for a repetitive motion performed by an individual comprising:
a feedback output device;
a combination of at least two elements a, b and c, wherein the elements a, b and c are comprised of:
(a) an object motion sensor for providing motion data of a moving object when moved by the individual during a motion sequence;
(b) a position sensor for providing position data of the individual during the motion sequence; and
(c) a motion capturing device for capturing motion image data of the individual during the motion sequence; and
a data processing system for receiving data from the combination of at least two elements and providing feedback data that is provided to the feedback output device.
13. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 12, wherein:
the feedback output device includes a graphical display device.
14. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 12, wherein:
the motion data includes speed and direction data of the moving object.
15. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 12, further comprising:
a data storage device coupled to the data processing system; and
a template of previously stored data from the combination of the at least two elements from a previously performed motion sequence stored by the data storage device; and wherein
the data processing system compares newly monitored data to the previously stored data to determine differences in the newly stored and previously stored data and provides feedback data based upon the differences in the compared newly monitored and previously stored data.
16. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 15, further comprising:
a communication network coupled to the data storage device for communicating the stored data to another location.
17. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 15, wherein:
the feedback output device is an audio feedback device for providing audio feedback.
18. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 15, wherein:
the feedback output device is a visual feedback device for providing visual feedback.
19. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 12, wherein:
the combination includes all of the elements a, b and c.
20. A repetitive motion feedback system for a repetitive motion performed by an individual comprising:
a feedback output device;
a data monitoring system comprised of at least one of the following elements:
(a) an object motion sensor for providing motion data of a moving object when moved by the individual during a motion sequence;
(b) a position sensor for providing position data of the individual during the motion sequence; and
(c) a motion capturing device for capturing motion image data of the individual during the motion sequence;
a data processing system for receiving and storing data from the data monitoring system; and
a template of previously stored data from the data monitoring system from a previously performed motion sequence stored by the data processing system, the data processing system comparing newly received data to the previously stored data to determine differences in the newly received and previously stored data, the data processing system providing feedback based upon the differences in the compared newly received and previously stored data to the feedback output device.
21. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 20, further comprising:
a filter for selectively limiting the feedback that is provided to the feedback output device.
22. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 20, wherein:
the feedback output device is an audio feedback device for providing audio feedback.
23. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 22, wherein:
the feedback output device provides verbalized audio feedback.
24. The repetitive motion feedback system of claim 20, wherein:
the feedback output device is a visual feedback device for providing visual feedback.
25. A method of practicing a golf swing by an individual comprising:
having the individual perform a golf swing sequence;
monitoring a combination of at least two of properties a, b and c during the golf swing sequence wherein the properties a, b and c are comprised of:
(a) motion properties of an object moved by the individual during the golf swing sequence;
(b) position properties of the individual during the golf swing sequence; and
(c) movement properties of the individual during the golf swing sequence; and
graphically displaying the properties of the monitored combination simultaneously with or immediately after the golf swing sequence on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the monitored properties upon performing the golf swing sequence;
providing a golf swing template of a previously monitored combination of a golf swing sequence;
comparing the newly monitored golf swing sequence to the golf swing template; and
providing feedback to the individual based upon differences in the newly monitored golf swing sequence to the golf swing template.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein:
providing feedback includes is an audio feedback device for providing audio feedback.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein:
the audio feedback is verbal feedback.
28. The method of claim 25, wherein:
providing feedback includes providing visual feedback on the graphical display device.
29. The method of claim 25, wherein:
the golf swing template is of the previously monitored golf swing sequence of the individual.
30. The method of claim 25, further comprising:
storing the properties of the monitored combination using a data storage device.
31. The method of claim 25, wherein:
the object moved includes a golf ball.
32. The method of claim 25, wherein:
the object moved includes a golf club.
33. A feedback system for a golf swing performed by an individual comprising:
a feedback output device;
a combination of at least two elements a, b and c, wherein the elements a, b and c are comprised of:
(a) an object motion sensor for providing motion data of a moving object when moved by the individual during a golf swing sequence;
(b) a position sensor for providing weight placement data of the individual during the golf swing sequence; and
(c) a motion capturing device for providing motion image data of the individual during the golf swing;
a data processing system for receiving and storing data from the combination of at least two elements; and
a template of previously stored data from the combination of at least two elements from a previously performed golf swing sequence stored by the data processing system, the data processing system comparing newly received data to the previously stored data to determine differences in the newly received and previously stored data and providing feedback relating to the newly received and previously stored data to the feedback output device.
34. The feedback system of claim 33, further comprising:
a communication network coupled to the data processing system for communicating the stored data to another location.
35. The feedback system of claim 33, wherein:
the feedback output device provides audio feedback.
36. The feedback system of claim 33, wherein:
the feedback output device includes a graphical display device.
37. The feedback system of claim 34, wherein:
a remote data receiving system coupled to the communication network for accessing the stored data at a location remote from the data processing system.
38. A method of practicing a golf swing performed by an individual comprising:
having the individual perform a golf swing;
monitoring position properties of at least one of the individual's feet during the golf swing; and
graphically displaying the position properties in the form of footprint images of the at least one of the individual's feet, the footprint images having contrasted areas corresponding to the relative degree of pressure exerted by the at least one of the individual's feet during the golf swing simultaneously with or immediately after the golf swing on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the images upon performing the golf swing.
39. The method of claim 38, further comprising:
providing a golf swing template of previously monitored position properties;
comparing the newly monitored position properties to the template; and
providing feedback to the individual based upon differences in the newly monitored position properties to the template.
40. A method of practicing a golf swing performed by an individual, comprising:
having the individual perform a golf swing;
monitoring movement properties of the individual during the golf swing; and
graphically displaying information in the form of a 3-dimensional model of the individual relating to the monitored properties upon performing the golf swing on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the information upon performing the golf swing, and wherein the three-dimensional model allows the individual to selectively view the model at any point during the golf swing and from any desired angle.
41. A method of comparing at least two different individuals' performances of a repetitive motion sequence, comprising:
having the individuals each perform a repetitive motion sequence;
monitoring at least one of properties a, b and c during the motion sequence, wherein the properties a, b and c are comprised of:
(a) motion properties of an object moved by the individuals during the repetitive motion sequence monitored by an object motion sensor;
(b) position properties of the individuals during the motion sequence monitored by a position properties sensor; and
(c) movement properties of the individuals during the motion sequence as monitored by a motion capturing device; and
comparing the at least one of the monitored properties of the individuals; and
providing comparative feedback based on differences between the monitored properties of the individuals.
42. The method of claim 41, wherein:
the comparative feedback is provided on a graphical display device.
43. The method of claim 41, wherein:
data relating to the monitored properties of at least one of the individuals is stored on a data storage device that is coupled to a communication network; wherein
comparing the monitored properties includes retrieving the stored data of the at least one individual from the data storage device through the communication network and comparing the stored data to data of the other at least two individuals relating to the monitored properties.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The invention relates generally to a feedback system for a repetitive motion and method of practicing a repetitive motion by an individual, particularly those repetitive movements that involve the movement of an object by the individual.

BACKGROUND

[0002] There have been numerous and varied methods and devices developed for practicing repetitive movements, particularly those movements used for sports, recreational or athletic activities, such as golf or tennis. These methods or devices typically focus on one particular aspect of the repetitive motion, such as the grip, position or orientation of the individual's head or body, or the position or orientation of the device or instrument being held or moved by the individual during the repetitive motion. In many cases, a practice device is employed that secures to the user or the object moved by the user to restrict or limit the ability to make undesirable movements. Many of these devices are used only during practice and would otherwise not be used during normal play or performance of the repetitive motion. Additionally, these devices are often cumbersome and difficult to use, making them undesirable.

[0003] Despite the many devices and methods that have been developed over the past, one of the best methods of practicing repetitive movements merely involves the use of a coach or professional instructor who actually observes the individual or student during practice of the repetitive motion. After observation of the individual, the instructor can provide feedback to the individual regarding their performance and communicate ways to improve upon the individual's performance.

[0004] The use of an instructor has obvious limitations, however. The time and attention an instructor can give may be limited, particularly if there is more than one student that must be observed during a particular practice session. And even if private or one-on-one instruction is used, seldom will an instructor be available to supervise all of the individual's practice sessions or be able to fully observe each and every repetitive motion performed by the individual during the practice session. Further, an instructor may not be able to monitor each and every aspect of the individual's performance, particularly those aspects that are not easily monitored by merely observing the individual perform the repetitive motion. Another limitation is that for many, particularly for private or one-on-one-type instruction, hiring a professional instructor can be expensive or even cost prohibitive.

[0005] Visual recording or videotaping of the repetitive motion sequence for post-analysis by the individual or an instructor has also been used as a practicing aid. Although, this may be beneficial, it does not provide immediate feedback to allow the individual to adjust his or her performance accordingly during the practice session. Further, unless the individual is quite knowledgeable of the mechanics of a properly executed motion sequence, little benefit may be derived from this method without involvement of a coach or instructor who can point out the proper or improper aspects of the recorded motion sequence.

[0006] What is therefore needed is a means for practicing a repetitive motion that overcomes many of the shortcomings of these prior art methods.

SUMMARY

[0007] A method of practicing a repetitive motion by an individual is provided. The method includes having the individual perform a repetitive motion sequence, such as a golf swing. A combination of at least two of properties a, b and c during the motion sequence are monitored. The properties a, b and c include:

[0008] (a) motion properties of an object moved by the individual during the repetitive motion sequence;

[0009] (b) position properties of the individual during the motion sequence; and

[0010] (c) movement properties of the individual during the motion sequence.

[0011] Information relating to the properties of the monitored combination are graphically displayed simultaneously with or immediately after the repetitive motion sequence on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the information upon performing the repetitive motion sequence.

[0012] A repetitive motion template of a previously monitored combination of a repetitive motion sequence may also be provided in the method. The template may be a previously monitored repetitive motion sequence of the individual. The repetitive motion template is compared to the newly monitored repetitive motion sequence. Feedback, which may be audio feedback, visual feedback, or both, is provided to the individual based upon the differences in the newly monitored repetitive motion sequence to the repetitive motion template. The properties of the monitored combination may also be stored in a data storage device.

[0013] A repetitive motion feedback system for a repetitive motion performed by an individual is also provided. The feedback system includes a feedback output device and a combination of at least two elements a, b and c, wherein the elements a, b and c are comprised of:

[0014] (a) an object motion sensor for providing motion data of a moving object when moved by the individual during a motion sequence;

[0015] (b) a position sensor for providing position data of the individual during the motion sequence; and

[0016] (c) a motion capturing device for capturing motion image data of the individual during the motion sequence.

[0017] A data processing system receives data from the combination of at least two elements and provides feedback data that is provided to the feedback output device.

[0018] In more specific embodiments, the feedback output device may include a graphical display device, a visual feedback device or an audio feedback device for providing visual or audio feedback. The audio feedback may further include verbalized audio feedback. The motion data may include speed and direction data of the moving object.

[0019] The repetitive motion feedback system may further include a data storage device coupled to the data processing system. A template of previously stored data from the combination of the at least two elements from a previously performed motion sequence is stored in the data storage device, and the data processing system compares newly monitored data to the previously stored data to determine differences in the newly stored and previously stored data and provides feedback data based upon the differences in the compared newly monitored and previously stored data.

[0020] A communication network may be coupled to the data storage device for communicating the stored data to another location. A filter may also be provided for selectively limiting the feedback that is provided to the feedback output device. A remote data receiving system may also be coupled to the communication network for accessing the stored data at a location remote from the data processing system.

[0021] In another embodiment of the invention, a method of practicing a golf swing performed by an individual is provided. The method is accomplished by having the individual perform a golf swing and monitoring position properties of at least one of the individual's feet during the golf swing. The position properties are graphically displayed in the form of footprint images of the at least one of the individual's feet, the footprint images having contrasted areas corresponding to the relative degree of pressure exerted by the at least one of the individual's feet during the golf swing simultaneously with or immediately after the golf swing on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the images upon performing the golf swing. The method may further include providing a golf swing template of previously monitored position properties and comparing the newly monitored position properties to the template. Feedback is then provided to the individual based upon differences in the newly monitored position properties to the template.

[0022] In still another embodiment, a method of practicing a golf swing performed by an individual is accomplished by having the individual perform a golf swing and monitoring movement properties of the individual during the golf swing. Information relating to the monitored properties upon performing the golf swing is graphically displayed in the form of a 3-dimensional model on a graphical display device that is in visual proximity to the individual so that the individual is provided with the information upon performing the golf swing. The three-dimensional model allows the individual to selectively view the model at any point during the golf swing and from any desired angle.

[0023] In another aspect of the invention, a method of comparing at least two different individuals' performances of a repetitive motion sequence is provided. The method is accomplished by having the individuals each perform a repetitive motion sequence. At least one of the properties a, b and c is monitored during the motion sequence, wherein the properties a, b and c include:

[0024] (a) motion properties of an object moved by the individuals during the repetitive motion sequence monitored by an object motion sensor;

[0025] (b) position properties of the individuals during the motion sequence monitored by a position properties sensor; and

[0026] (c) movement properties of the individuals during the motion sequence as monitored by a motion capturing device.

[0027] The at least one of the monitored properties of the individuals is then compared and comparative feedback is provided, such as on a graphical display device, based upon differences between the monitored properties of the individuals. In a particular embodiment, data relating to the monitored properties of at least one of the individuals is stored on a data storage device that is coupled to a communication network and comparing the monitored properties includes retrieving the stored data of the at least one individual from the data storage device through the communication network and comparing the stored data to data of the other at least two individuals relating to the monitored properties.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which:

[0029]FIG. 1 is a general schematic of a repetitive motion feedback system, constructed in accordance with the invention;

[0030]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a golf bay incorporating the repetitive motion feedback system for a golf swing, which includes a graphical display device, and is constructed in accordance with the invention;

[0031]FIG. 3A is an upper left quadrant display on the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing information relating to club and ball movement and impact;

[0032]FIG. 3B is an alternate upper left quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing a simulated pictorial image of a golf hole and information relating to club and ball movement;

[0033]FIG. 3C is still another alternate upper left quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing tabulated data relating to club and ball movement;

[0034]FIG. 4A is a upper right quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing weight distribution images and center of gravity;

[0035]FIG. 4B is another upper right quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing weight distribution images and the history or path of the center of gravity;

[0036]FIG. 5A is a lower left quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing side-by-side front view video images of a newly performed and template swing of a user;

[0037]FIG. 5B is a alternate lower left quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing side-by-side video images of the newly performed and template swings, looking downrange from the side of the user;

[0038]FIG. 6A is a lower right quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing a 3-dimensional model image of the user from an optical motion capturing device, with multiple images of a golf club illustrating the path of the user's swing;

[0039]FIG. 6B is an alternate lower left quadrant display of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing a 3-dimensional model image of the user from an optical motion capturing device, with lines indicating the arc or path of the user's swing;

[0040]FIG. 6C is another alternate lower left quadrant display of the graphical display of FIG. 2, showing a 3-dimensional model image of the user from an optical motion capturing device, with reference lines showing the orientation of the user's body during a swing;

[0041]FIG. 7 is a detailed view of a control panel for use in interfacing with and providing instructions to the feedback system;

[0042]FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the graphical display device of FIG. 2, showing a menu displayed with various options that can be selected by user;

[0043]FIG. 9 is flow diagram illustrating a practice session mode of operation for a golf swing utilizing the feedback system in accordance with the invention;

[0044]FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of a communication network interconnecting several practice stations and user systems in accordance with the invention;

[0045]FIG. 11 is a flow diagram illustrating a comparison mode of operation for a golf swing utilizing the feedback system in accordance with the invention; and

[0046]FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a batting cage or bay incorporating the repetitive motion feedback system for a bat swing, and which is constructed in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0047] By employing a system wherein various aspects or properties of a repetitive motion sequence are monitored and immediate feedback regarding these monitored properties are provided to the individual performing the repetitive motion sequence, an improved method of practicing the repetitive motion is obtained. Further, the feedback can include comparison of the monitored properties to properties of a model or template motion sequence so that the individual can determine differences between the performed motion sequence and the model or template and thereby endeavor to adjust his or her performance of the motion sequence accordingly during the practice session to more closely match that of the template or model.

[0048] The invention has application to virtually any repetitive motion activity or sequence that may be performed by an individual, particularly those associated with sports, recreational and other athletic-type activities or pursuits, particularly those involving movement of a 3-dimensional physical object, such as a ball, club or similar object, by the individual through an area of space. The repetitive motion activity is contrasted and distinguished, however, from those activities performed solely through interaction with objects appearing on a video screen or other display, such as in video games, wherein one interacts with the video display by means of a joystick, controller or otherwise, by manipulating or moving an object appearing on a screen or display. The repetitive motion activities include but are not limited to activities such as golf, tennis, hitting a baseball, bowling, fencing, etc. that usually require consistent form or technique to ensure a good performance.

[0049] For illustrative purposes and ease of description, the following disclosure is primarily directed to the repetitive motion of a golf swing. And in fact, the invention is particularly well suited to the practice of a golf swing. It should be apparent to those skilled in the art, however, that the invention can be easily adapted to other activities involving repetitive motion wherein physical 3-dimensional objects are moved through an area of space, and should thus not be limited to this particular activity or repetitive motion.

[0050] In golf, as in most repetitive motion sports, it is highly beneficial that the individual golfer be able to repeat or duplicate a swing to ensure good and consistent golf shots. There are many factors or variables that contribute to a golf swing, however, variances in any one of these factors is varied to any degree it can result in a poor swing and less than desirable ball trajectory. Because the motion sequence that makes up a golf swing occurs fairly rapidly, there is little opportunity for analyzing the many variables that make up the swing. And without proper feedback regarding what is occurring right or wrong during the swing, many may fail to improve even after many long hours of practice.

[0051] The present invention utilizes various means for monitoring certain variables during a golf swing. It may be advantageous to monitor different variables depending upon the activity or type of repetitive motion. For golf and many other activities, the variables monitored may include 1) motion properties of an object moved by an individual during the repetitive motion sequence; 2) position properties of the individual during the motion sequence; and 3) movement properties of the individual during the motion sequence. Referring to FIG. 1, a general schematic diagram of a repetitive motion feedback system is shown. Information regarding these monitored properties of a repetitive motion is detected or sensed by various devices. These include an object motion sensor 10, a weight placement or pressure distribution sensor 12, a video camera or cameras 14 and an optical motion capturing system 16.

[0052] Data from the various sensors is provided to a data processing system 18. The data processing system 18 may be a computer system having one or more processors, and may include a personal computer or a network server containing one or more programs. The data from the sensors is stored in a data storage device 20, which is coupled to the data processing system 18. The data storage device may be a semiconductor, magnetic or optical memory device, and may include such devices as floppy disks, fixed or hard disks, CD's, magnetic tapes or other devices capable of storing such data that are well known to those skilled in the art. Data may be collected and stored continuously, or alternatively only selected data may be stored during a practice session or performance of a repetitive motion sequence. The selected data may be stored or saved at the direction of the individual or an observer or instructor or upon the occurrence of an event, such as a particular monitored event.

[0053] In a preferred embodiment, model or template data is stored in the data storage device coupled to the data processing system. During a practice session, the data processing system compares the model or template data to the data collected from the sensors 10, 12, 14, and 16 and provides comparison feedback data or information based upon the differences between the model or template data and the newly collected data.

[0054] Preferably, information regarding the monitored properties is provided or displayed on a user interface that includes a graphical display device 22 located near or in visual proximity to the individual performing the repetitive motion so that feedback regarding the individual's performance is provided to the individual during or immediately following the motion sequence. The information may be provided in “real time” either simultaneously with or immediately after performing the motion sequence.

[0055] Feedback that may be based on the comparison feedback may be presented on the display device 22 or as audio feedback through a speaker 24 or both.

[0056] Instructions and user input may be provided to the data processing system by means of a controller 25.

[0057] In a more specific embodiment, a repetitive motion feedback system for a golf swing is illustrated in FIG. 2. A practice station or golf bay 26 similar to those used at driving ranges and the like is provided. The bay 26 has a driving station area 28 having a ball striking surface or mat 30 of artificial turf or the like upon which a golf ball can be positioned and struck. The mat 30 may be provided with a tee 32 or similar device for resting or positioning an actual golf ball. The bay 26 may be located outdoors or indoors. Preferably, the bay 26 opens onto a driving range or other open area so that the ball is allowed to travel normally, thus allowing the user to see the actual flight and path of the ball down range after it is hit. Alternatively, a net or other ball-capturing device positioned for arresting the flight of the ball after it has been hit may be used where space is limited.

[0058] The driving station 28 also includes a weight placement mat 34 upon which the user stands to provide position properties of the user. The mat 34 is provided with pressure sensors to detect the weight placement and pressure exerted by the user's feet when positioned thereon. The weight placement sensor 34 is of the type that can be coupled to a computer or other data processing device for processing the weight placement data and provide output of the weight placement information in a suitable display, such as on a monitor or screen for monitoring the weight placement of the user upon the mat. Preferably, the mat 34 provides information to derive a visual image of the user's feet and the amount or relative degree of pressure exerted by different areas of each of the user's feet. Additionally, the position or information regarding the user's center of gravity is provided so that it too can be displayed and viewed. An example of one such suitable commercially available pressure sensor device is that available from Tekscan Inc., Boston, Mass., and marketed as the ISCAN® System. Pressure sensor arrays of the type used in such mats are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,856,993 and 5,505,072, which are herein incorporated by reference. Such sensors typically employ two thin sheets of material that have electrically conductive electrodes deposited in various patterns on the surface thereof. Typically the electrodes are arranged in a crisscross or grid pattern, with one sheet having electrodes arranged as columns and the other as rows that intersect when positioned one on top of the other. A semi-conductive material is positioned between the two sheets, and by measuring changes in the current flow at the intersections of the electrodes, the applied force or pressure distribution can be measured and observed.

[0059] An object motion sensor 36 is located adjacent the striking surface 30. The motion sensor 36 detects motion data of an object moved by the user. For golf, this includes motion data of both the club swung by the user and the golf ball that it hits. The information that the motion sensor 36 detects may include, but is not limited to, clubface angle at impact, position of impact on the clubface, ball speed, club speed, ball back spin and side spin revolution rate, club swing path angle, and ball path and trajectory data, which includes ball launch angle, off line distance, final distance from the pin or target, flight time and ball height.

[0060] The object motion sensor 36 is preferably of the type that can be coupled to a computer or other data processing device for processing the object motion data sensed by the sensor 36 and output the object motion information in a suitable display, such as on a monitor or screen. An example of one such suitable commercially available motion detector for monitoring club and ball dynamics is that available from Focaltron Corporation, Sunnyvale, Calif., and marketed as the GOLFACHIEVER™ System. Preferably, the object motion sensor is an optical or laser-type motion detector or tracking device, such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,626,526, and incorporated herein by reference.

[0061] One or more video cameras, such as indicated at 38 and 40, are positioned about the bay 26 for capturing actual video or motion images of the user's movement during his or her execution of a golf swing. The video cameras may be positioned at various angles and positions to capture different views or perspectives of the user during their golf swing. In the embodiment shown, the cameras are positioned and directed at generally right angles from one another, with one being directed toward the front of the user and the other directed down range from the side of the user.

[0062] Optical motion capturing cameras 42 are positioned at elevated positions near the ceiling at several locations around the bay 26. In the embodiment shown, a total of six such cameras are used. The cameras 42 are high-resolution, visible red or infrared cameras of the type used in optical motion capturing systems. In such systems, retro-reflective markers, such as the markers 50, 52 and 54, are attached to the user and/or object moved by the user at different strategic points. These cameras are located around the individual and used with specialized software that can be provided with a computer 44, as shown in FIG. 2, to triangulate the different views from each camera to establish 3-dimensional X, Y, Z coordinates or data in what is referred to as a translation step. This is combined with rotational data from the angles of links between various joint centers, as determined by the markers. By combining this translational and rotational data, an output of a 3-dimensional model of the user can be created and displayed on a graphical display device. This data can also be used for comparison feedback and instruction purposes when comparing data from a practice swing to a template or model swing.

[0063] Such optical motion capturing systems are known in the art for providing computer-generated animated figures for motion pictures and the like. An example of a suitable commercially available optical motion capturing system is available from Vicon Motion Systems, Oxford, England, and marketed as the VICON™ 460 Motion System.

[0064] The computer 44 is provided for processing data regarding the user's golf swing, such as the motion data from the optical motion capturing system just described. Each of the weight placement sensor, object motion sensor and visual or motion information detection device are coupled to the computer 44. The computer 44 is provided with programs or software that enables the information and data from these devices to be stored and processed to provide the desired feedback to the user.

[0065] Information can also be input into the computer by the user by means of a suitable control or input mechanism, such as the control panel 46. The control panel 46 may be used in conjunction with a graphical display device 48 for inputting data, commands or instructions for the computer 44.

[0066] The graphical display device 48 is preferably located at a position adjacent to or in visual proximity to the user. The device 48 may include a cathode-ray tube (CRT) or liquid crystal display (LCD) device or other similar device commonly used for displaying moving images. Such devices may include one or more conventional, projection or flat screen televisions or monitors.

[0067] In the particular embodiment shown, the screen of the display device 48 is split into four quadrants 56A-56D, with each quadrant providing different information, which will be described in more detail below. It should be apparent to those skilled in the art, that a variety of different methods and display formats may be used, however.

[0068] A speaker 58 is also located within bay 26 for providing audio feedback to the user. Alternatively, headphones or other means for providing audio feedback may be provided. In a preferred embodiment, prerecorded natural or synthetically verbalized audio feedback is provided.

[0069] Referring to FIG. 3A, the upper left quadrant 56A of the display device 48 is shown in greater detail. The quadrant 56A provides information from the motion sensor 36 relating to the dynamics and movement of the golf club and ball as the user moves them, as well as information regarding a selected simulated hole being played. As can be seen, the quadrant 56A is divided further into various panels or windows, with information being provided in both a textual format as well as in pictorial or animated images displayed within the panels. As can be seen, images representing the simulated hole and projected ball path, club angle during impact, etc. are shown. The information and format displayed can be varied, however. In the particular embodiment shown, panels 60, 62 display an animated or pictorial representation of the ball path projection in relation to a hole or target 59, with panel 60 being a front elevational view and panel 62 being a side elevational view. The hole or target 59 may correspond in distance and appearance to one or more actual holes or marker pins located downrange at a driving range or other open area to which the bay 26 opens. Other views of the simulated hole and ball projection may be provided as well. Distance marker indicia 61 can be provided to indicate the distance of the ball from the tee or starting point, which corresponds to the actual tee 32 of mat 30.

[0070] Panel 64 is a snapshot pictorial representation of the golf club swing path upon impact with the golf ball. Panel 66 is a snapshot pictorial representation of the clubface position, indicating the degree to which the clubface is closed or open upon impact. Panel 68 is a pictorial representation of the ball and club indicating the take off orientation of the ball with respect to the clubface upon impact. Such pictorial representations provide information of each of the user's shots.

[0071] In addition to pictorial images, textual information can be provided as well. Panel 70 provides summarized tabulated statistical information regarding the dynamics of the golf club and ball movement during the executed golf swing. Data can be compiled so that a history of several of the user's shots can be presented on screen.

[0072]FIG. 3B is an alternate down range perspective view of the simulated golf hole view that can be selected and presented in quadrant 56A. It too may include textual and tabulated data, as well as pictorial and animated images.

[0073]FIG. 3C shows an alternate screen for quadrant 56A showing solely tabulated data for several shots that can be selected by means of the control panel 46. The user can switch between the different views of the quadrant 56A as desired. An example of the type of information that can be provided is presented below in Table 1 below.

TABLE 1
Shot 1 2 3 4 Last Average
Max Ball Path Height (yd) 26 7 23 25 25 21.2 yd
Flight Time (sec) 7.2 4.0 6.7 7.1 7.0 6.4 sec
Distance of Ball From Pin (ft) 24.3 119.1 97.4 9.6 52.0 60.5 ft
Distance Off Line (yd) 8 4 10 −3 −1 3.6 +/− 5 yd
Position of Face Impact Ctr. Heel Toe Heel Ctr. T/C/H: 1/2/2
Face Angle  3.9°  1.0°  7.1°  −1.8°  0.5° 2.1° +/− 3°
Swing Path Angle   1°  −2°   3°     1°   1° 1° +/− 2°
Distance (yd) 147 111 119 150 133 132 +/− 15 yd
Sidespin (rpm) −147 333 −407 93 −120 −50 rpm
Backspin (rpm) 6974 3298 6790 6734 7090 6177 +/− 1445 rpm
Launch Angle 22.3°  9.6° 27.3°   21.1° 25.5° 21.2° +/− 6.2°
Clubhead Speed (mph) 78 80 73 78 78 77 +/− 2 mph
Ball Speed (mph) 105 101 90 105 98 100 +/−6 mph

[0074]FIGS. 4A and 4B show details of upper right quadrant 56B of the display device 48. In the embodiment shown, quadrant 56B provides information from the weight placement mat or sensor 34 relating to position properties of the user's feet and center of gravity. The position properties monitored include the weight placement or distribution, orientation and alignment of the user's feet and changes or movement in the weight distribution and position and alignment that occur during execution of the swing. A model or template stance 72 can be provided on the display in relation to the ball or tee 32 to illustrate a preferred stance for a particular club or shot being played, such as provided by template information. This assists the user in proper positioning of his or her feet during the swing for correct setup and alignment. Actual footprint images 74 showing different pressure areas, such as the areas 76, 78, from the sensor 34 are also displayed. The actual images 74 preferably are simultaneously displayed so that the user can adjust his or her stance or alignment by viewing the display and adjusting their stance accordingly to more appropriately match that of the model 72.

[0075] The pressure areas 76, 78, which may be one or more differently colored or contrasted regions, indicate the relative degree of pressure exerted by the user's feet upon the mat 34. This allows the user or others viewing the display to identify the area of the feet where the user exerts the most weight or pressure. Thus, for example, by indication of the regions 76, 78 one may determine that the user primarily places most of his or her weight on the inside portion of the left foot during all or part of the swing.

[0076] A marker 80 indicating the user's center of gravity is also displayed. FIG. 4A shows the initial location of the center of gravity. FIG. 4B, shows the history and path of the center of gravity during a swing, as indicated by the dashed line 82. As illustrated, the center of gravity is shown shifting or moving to the right, such as during a backswing of the user, and then to the left and slightly forward, such as may occur during a forward swing.

[0077] Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, a detailed view of the displayed information presented in lower left quadrant 56C is shown. FIGS. 5A and 5B provide different views of the user, as provided by the video cameras 38, 40 discussed previously, with FIG. 5A being a front view of the user, and FIG. 5B being a side view looking downrange. The different views may be selected by the user by means of the control panel 46. Other views may be provided as well.

[0078] In the embodiment shown, the quadrant 56C is divided vertically into left and right screens or sections 84, 86, respectively. One of the sections, such as section 84 provides the actual moving image or an animated representation of the user during the user's actual golf swing. The other section 86 can provide a moving image of a model or template swing. The model image provided in section 86 may be of a previously performed swing of the user himself or of another, such as a professional instructor or coach, performing the same or a similar swing. As discussed previously, the images may be actual images of those performing the swing, such as video images, or may be an animated representation of the user. Preferably, the images of the sections 84, 86 are synchronized as close as possible when viewed so that when the user begins his or her back swing, the back swing of the model or template also commences. The images may be superimposed one upon the other for comparison purposes, as well.

[0079] A marked path or history of the swing may be displayed by motion or tracking lines, shown as the dashed lines 88, 90. These lines are formed by tracking markers attached to the club or user during the swing that are perceived and monitored by the video cameras 38, 40. This enables one to view the range of motion during the swing and facilitates comparison of the user's image with that of the model or template.

[0080] FIGS. 6A-6C show various displayable views of 3-dimensional models created by the optical motion capturing system, such as the VICON™ 460 Motion System previously discussed, employing the cameras 42 and various markers, such as the markers 50, 52, 54. These are displayed in lower left quadrant 56D. The optical motion capturing system provides different 3-dimensional models of the user 85. FIG. 6A illustrates various positions of the user's club 91 during the swing. FIG. 6B shows the swing path arc 89 during the swing, which is determined by the path of a single point on the club 91. FIG. 6C shows the position of the user's body during the swing. As can be seen, a line 93 representing a vertical axis of the user, which generally indicates the position of the user's spine is provided. Further, a line 95 passing through and indicating the position of the user's shoulders and a line 97 passing through and indicating the position of the user's hips is also provided. These lines are determined by means of links made between markers attached to the user's body, such as the markers 50, 52 and 54. Additionally, lines of sight 99 are also provided that generally indicate where the user is looking when the user is looking in a straight forward position. The sight lines 99 are established by the orientation of the user's head, as determined by markers positioned thereon.

[0081] In this way, the relative orientation and position of the user's body during the swing can be determined to allow the user to see what is occurring during the swing. The different views can be rotated by means of the controller 46 so that the user can observe the displayed 3-dimensional models from any angle or orientation. Further, the user can rewind or playback the images and stop or start the different images from any point during the swing, such as at the beginning of the back swing, top of the swing or follow through.

[0082]FIG. 7 shows detail of the control panel 46. The control panel 46 may be a pointing or highlighting device for use with a graphical interface provided on the display 48. The graphical interface can be in the form of a menu, such as the menu 92 (FIG. 8) having several menu options 94 located on the screen of the display 48. The menu 92 may be positioned and configured in a variety of different ways. The device 46 is composed of four buttons 96A-96D for up, down, left and right movement of a cursor or pointer over the menu 92 for highlighting or pointing to the various menu options 94. A button 98 for selecting the highlighted menu option is provided in the center of the control panel 46. The control panel 46 is located at a position for ease of access to the user when positioned on or near the driving station 30, but that does not interfere with the movement of the user during execution of the golf swing. In the embodiment shown, the control panel is located on a wall of the bay 26 immediately below the display device 48 and within a short distance so that the user can reach the buttons of the control panel with the end of his or her golf club. The buttons 96A-96D and 98 are also of sufficient size to enable the user to easily target and contact the desired button with the club end with little chance of selecting the wrong button.

[0083] Alternatively to the control panel 46, a conventional keyboard or mouse provided with the computer 44 can also be used to input various commands or instructions or select the desired menu options.

[0084] The operation of the feedback system in practicing a golf swing is described with reference to the flow diagram of FIG. 9. A practice session is shown beginning at 100. An individual enters user data and identifying information 102 for the practice session. This may be initial user data, such as the user's name, etc. so that a user database is created for associating and storing data collected during the user's practice session. Additionally, users may enter data and identifying information so that the computer 44 can access and retrieve any previously stored user data, such as stored swings and template data. This may be accomplished by the user providing a removable data storage device, such as a diskette or CD, from one or more previous practice sessions with the user data contained therein. Alternatively, the user data may be stored on a server or computer system at the practice facility or that can be accessed through the practice facility server or computer system, which may be interconnected or networked with other computers or servers containing the user data.

[0085] The user is outfitted with markers, such as the markers 50, 52, 54, for use with the optical motion capturing device, as previously described. These may be positioned on the user's hat, glove and the golf club. Markers can also be positioned across the user's shoulders, waist and other areas, if desired. Once the user information is entered, the user then selects desired variables and information 104. This may be accomplished by means of the control panel 46 and displayed menu 92 presented on the display 48, which presents various options to select. The menu may prompt the user as to whether the user wants to begin a new session or continue an old session that was previously stored in a data storage device that is provided with the computer 44. The menu may prompt the user to select a desired hole and any hole variables, such as wind, temperature, conditions of grass, elevation, etc. Alternatively, in step 104, the computer 44 can provide or assign a random hole and hole variables and provide the information regarding the hole, such as distance to the hole, etc. on the display in quadrant 56A. Once the hole is selected, the user chooses a desired club and enters any club and ball information, such as club type and brand of the club, ball type and brand, tee height, or any other information or variable that may affect the user's performance.

[0086] Once the user enters the selected information, the user can begin his or her set up and alignment 106 for the practice swing. During setup and alignment the user positions a ball on the tee 32 and takes position upon the mat 30 and addresses the ball. The computer 44 will provide a template or model stance on the display 48, as indicated by the model stance 72, as in FIG. 3A, based upon the hole being played and the information entered by the user, such as the club being used. The model stance may be derived from a previously recorded stance of the user or of another that indicates proper alignment and set up for the hole and club being used.

[0087] In step 108, the weight placement sensor 34 will sense the users position and actual footprint images 74 of the user will be displayed so that the user can adjust his or her stance accordingly to more closely match that of the model 72. Audio instruction feedback can be provided to the user through the speaker 58 or other audio feedback device to prompt the user regarding the differences in the user's actual stance and that of the template so that the user is afforded an opportunity to adjust their stance in step 110. This is accomplished by comparing the actual weight distribution data of the user from the sensor 34 to the previously stored template or model data for the model stance.

[0088] Once the user is in position and ready, the user executes his or her practice swing 112 while the properties of the swing are monitored 114. The object motion sensor 36 will sense and monitor the impact of the club and ball. During the practice session, the video cameras 38, 40 and cameras 42 of the optical motion capturing system can be continuously recording and monitoring. The data from the sensors is provided to the computer 44 or other data processing system. The computer 44 will provide real-time feedback from the data monitored by the various devices to the user on the display so that the user sees the results immediately upon completion of his or her swing. This will include the display of non-comparative monitored data feedback 116. Additionally, the monitored data is compared to the template swing in step 118 and comparative feedback 120 is displayed so that the user can see the differences between the swing performed and the template swing.

[0089] The displayed feedback 116, 120 will include the playback of the recorded information from the video and optical motion capturing devices made during the swing and the weight placement images. As shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B of quadrant 56C, the video of the user is played back in a side-by-side comparison to a stored template image in section 86. The stored template image may also be superimposed with the performed swing. As discussed previously, these should be synchronized as close as possible so that the model swing generally coincides with the executed swing during playback. This may be accomplished by monitoring the moment of ball impact and providing playback for the recorded events that occur a selected period of time prior to and after the sensed impact of the club with the ball, which is sufficient to provide playback of the entire swing. The impact of the club and ball may be monitored or detected by means of the motion sensor 36, or the mat 30 or tee 32 may be provided with a sensor, such as a pressure, optical or audio sensor, to monitor the moment of impact. The recorded playback may include recorded images beginning from a time window beginning from the first seconds or fraction of a second proceeding the impact of the club with the ball, and continuing for the seconds or fraction of a second after impact with the ball to include both the back swing and follow through of the club.

[0090] The optical motion capturing device will also provide a 3-dimensional model of the user during his or her swing in quadrant 56D. Preferably, the playback of the weight placement data in quadrant 56B, the video images in quadrant 56C and the three-dimensional animated model of quadrant 56D include the same time window and are all synchronized so that when viewed simultaneously on the display device 48 they all correspond to the same point in the swing.

[0091] Instruction feedback 124, based upon the compared actual and template swings, in the form of visual or audio feedback is also provided. Audio feedback may include prerecorded natural or synthesized verbal audio instruction feedback, which is announced over the speaker 58 or other audio feedback device after execution of the swing.

[0092] For example, during the swing, the user's weight placement may be off, with too much weight being placed on the right foot during the back swing, as compared to the template. Additionally, the user may have swung “outside in” by several degrees. Accordingly, stored audio verbal instructions that are assigned to such monitored swing characteristics may be played after the swing to inform the user too much weight was placed on the right foot during the back swing and that the club was swung from outside in. Such instructions could also be displayed as text or images on the display device 48 as well. This provides a means for the user to determine errors or mistakes that might not otherwise be apparent without observation by a coach or instructor.

[0093] Because the dynamics of a golf swing are fairly complex, numerous variables and data may be monitored by the different sensors and compared by the computer to the template swing. There may be more information or feedback for instructions on differences between the actual swing and the template swing than would be practical to the user. Too much information or too many instructions could actually overwhelm or frustrate the user. The number of instructions can therefore be varied depending upon the skill level of the user, such as beginner, intermediate and expert, with the number of instruction increasing with the level of expertise.

[0094] A filter 122 can be used to limit the number of instructions provided to the user prior to providing the instruction feedback 124. This may be in the form of a program or routine provided with the computer or data processing system that selects only those aspects of the swing where differences in the data between the actual swing and template swing are greatest to be provided as instruction feedback. Thus, a small manageable number of instructions may be presented or provided in the instruction feedback. The user could also create a filter in step 104 by selecting the desired properties or aspects they want to monitor and desire to be provided as instruction feedback.

[0095] The filtering feature has particular application during coaching or training when the instructor desires the individual performing the golf swing to only focus or concentrate on certain aspects of the swing. The instructor can select the desired properties of the swing to be monitored so that the instruction feedback only relates to those properties. For example, the instructor may want the user to concentrate on maintaining their head in a level head down position with the user's eyes focused on the ball. By selecting the monitored properties related to head position and movement and filtering out other feedback, instruction feedback can be provided by the system to the user regarding the position of their head during the swing. This focuses the student on the areas that may need the most improvement.

[0096] The feedback information will usually be provided within a few seconds after the swing, and in most instances no more than the typical flight time of the golf ball after it is hit. The information is thus provided so that the user can see the results of his or her swing in real time immediately afterwards. This will include the information from the object motion sensor 36 regarding the dynamics of the club and ball, such as distance, speed, projected path, etc., as previously discussed, as well as the weight placement, video and motion capture playback.

[0097] After the execution of the swing and feedback have been provided, the user may want to replay and study the feedback information 126. Different views for this purpose may also be selected by means of the control panel and on-screen menu. The user may want to review and replay the weight placement images of the model swing while also viewing the weight placement images from his or her actual swing. Thus, the user may select that quadrant 56D display weight placement properties of the model. The user may also want to enlarge one of the quadrants 56A-56D so that a full screen image on the display device 48 is provided.

[0098] The user can play, stop, reverse or forward through the playback of the images presented on the display 48 by means of the control panel 46 and selected menu options presented on the screen 48. This allows the user to stop at various points in the swing or play the swing in slow motion or incrementally for a more detailed review of the swing. Because the images are synchronized and shown simultaneously, the user can also see how the weight placement data in quandrant 56B various at different positions in the swing, as shown by the motion images displayed in quandrants 56C and 56D.

[0099] The instruction feedback can also inform the user on aspects of the swing where the greatest differences were monitored from the model swing. The user can then replay and study the images to see what actually occurred during the swing where the greatest differences where monitored.

[0100] Upon completion of the swing, the user can end the practice session 134 or continue the practice session, in which case steps 104 or 106 are repeated and the process begins again, with each swing being monitored and data and feedback being provided with each new swing.

[0101] Typically, the data from each swing will be entered and stored only temporarily in the computer's or data processing system's memory. The user, however, can save data 130 for selected swings prior to continuing so that they can be recalled and replayed at another time. Additionally, the user or an instructor can save one or more of the swings for use as template or model swing in this steps. Thus, the user can use one of his or her swings that was a particularly good swing for comparison with future swings.

[0102] At the end of the practice session 134, the user may retrieve stored user data 136 from the practice session, which can be copied onto a removable data storage device such as a diskette or CD. The user can then remove and take the diskette or CD with them and use it at the same or another similar facility for a future practice session or sessions. Additionally, the user may want to use the diskette or CD containing the information on a personal computer system for replay and review of the stored data. In this way, the user can make further study of his or her golf swings at a convenient time and place.

[0103] In accordance with the invention, several practice stations of the type just described can be provided at a single location. Thus, several bays, such as the bays 26, may be provided at a suitable facility, such as a driving range, so that several users can be accommodated simultaneously for practicing their golf swing utilizing the repetitive motion feedback system. Referring to FIG. 10, a communication network is shown, wherein each of the practice stations, such as the practice stations 140, 142 and 144, may be coupled to a local network server or central computer system 146 for collecting, processing and storing the monitored repetitive motion data and providing feedback output at the practice station facility. Other practices stations may also be provided at different geographic locations, such as the stations 148, 150 and 152, with each of these being coupled or communicating with a server or computer system 154. These computer systems may in turn be networked together or to a larger network 156 that is composed of other interconnected network servers or computer systems, such as the Internet, and which may include one or more data storage networks for storing user data from the individual practice session facilities.

[0104] After a user has completed a practice session, instead of relying on storing the user data on a removable data storage device, the user may rely on the stored data stored on the facility computer system or other data storage computer system or network where such data is stored. Thus, if the user utilizes another practice facility having a server or computer system that is networked or connected to the server containing the user's data, the user will be able to retrieve and access such stored data at the other facility to begin a new practice session. In this way, by merely entering identifying information sufficient to allow the user's data to identified and accessed, the user can retrieve his or her previously stored user data for use with a new practice session.

[0105] Additionally, users who want to access their user data for replay and review can do so from a remote personal computer, network or Internet terminal, such as indicated by the user systems 158, which is interconnected, by modem, cable or other device, with the network or server containing the stored data. Such user systems 158 may be provided with appropriate software or programs to provide a suitable display of the user data that is the same or similar to the display provided by the display device during the user's practice session. Instructors wishing to monitor their students performance may also be able to access the user's information from a remote location.

[0106] One application of the present repetitive motion feedback system is for use in a game, competition or other comparative activity, in which users are able to compete against one another or compare performances of the repetitive motion activity. This is accomplished by using repetitive motion data that is monitored utilizing the repetitive motion feedback system described herein from various users or individuals in a comparison user database that are stored in one or more servers or computer systems that are interconnected, as has been described with reference to FIG. 10, to allow the data from the various users to be accessed and retrieved at different stations or locations.

[0107] Referring to FIG. 11, a flow diagram illustrating a competitive or comparative mode of operation is shown. The competitive mode is similar to the practice mode, previously described. The user begins a session 160 and enters user data or identifying information 162 in much the same way as the practice session. The user then selects a competitive mode and assigns any necessary variables or information 164 needed for the competition or comparison. It is possible that the user may want to switch between practice and competitive modes, with a menu option or prompt being provided to select the mode of use. In the competitive mode, variables may include different competitive modes that the user can compare or compete in with other users. Additionally, the user may want to continue a previously conducted comparison or competition session that is stored and accessed when the user enters his or her user information.

[0108] These competitive modes may vary with any one or more of the various aspects measured by the feedback system being monitored for comparison. Thus, for example, one mode may be for the longest drive with a certain type of club. Another may include a combination of monitored aspects, such as closest distance to hole with shortest flight time. One mode may include most consistent form, wherein the user takes several swings that are compared to a template swing. Still another example may include a most improved user, wherein the user's performance as compared to a model or template swing is monitored over time to see how the user improves over a period of time in more closely matching the template swing or an aspect of the template swing. By measuring differences between the user's swings to the template, values can be determined as to the overall differences. These values can then be compared to other users to provide a hierarchy or ranking of those with the most consistent or improved performance.

[0109] As can be seen, the number of different modes or comparative measurements can vary widely and is only limited by the different data that is monitored and presented. Thus, a comparative mode could be based on any one or combination of two or more monitored properties or aspects of the monitored swing or repetitive motion. The comparison may also include other variables, categories or different user groups categorized by such criteria as age, sex, handicap, skill level, etc.

[0110] Once the user selects the comparative mode, the database(s) where the comparative user data for that particular mode is stored is accessed and retrieved 166. The graphical display may list comparative data 168 of other performer(s) and provide an output of the highest ranked performers' comparative information. The user then executes his or her swing 170 and the data or properties from the swing are monitored 172 and feedback provided 174. Preferably, the result of the user's swing in comparison with those of other comparative users is displayed immediately or in real time so that the user sees the results of his or her swing upon its execution. Audio or visual feedback, much like the instruction feedback described for the practice mode, can also be provided to the user so that user is informed on their performance compared to the highest ranked user or other users.

[0111] The user may replay and review their performance 176, as in the practice mode. The user may also be allowed to replay and review the monitored performance of other comparative user's on the display device, such as a particular individual or the top performer or performers, in the same way.

[0112] Depending upon the user's performance, the user may decide to store the swing in the comparison user database 180 for comparison or competition purposes or disregard the swing 178. Alternatively, in comparison mode, the swing may be automatically stored or may be designated as a comparative swing prior to execution for comparison or competition purposes so that the user must rely on his or her executed swing, regardless of their particular performance during execution of the swing. The user may then continue the session 182 by executing another swing, with one or more swings being stored for comparison purposes, or an average or other statistical compilation of several swings for each user may be used.

[0113] The competition or comparative mode may continue indefinitely or end after a period of time, with a winner or best performer being determined at the end of the selected time period of competition. Upon ending the session 184, the user may be provided with an updated or final comparative ranking 186. Users can monitor the status of such competitions at home or remote locations by accessing the database from a computer or remote user system, such as the user system 158 of FIG. 10, interconnected with the database(s) where the comparative data is stored.

[0114]FIG. 12 shows a batting cage or bay 26′ incorporating the repetitive motion feedback system of the invention. The batting cage 26′ is similar to the golf bay 26 of FIG. 2, with similar components designated with the same reference numerals and indicated with a prime symbol. In batting, the ball may be hit from a stationary position, as when positioned on a tee (not shown), or may be pitched or otherwise directed by another or apitching machine (not shown) to the user as a moving target. As can be seen, the motion sensor 36′ is positioned alongside the user and configured to monitor the motion properties in the area where the bat and ball contact one another when the ball is hit. The feedback system and modes of operation for batting are generally the same as those previously described with respect to golf.

[0115] The invention has several advantages over the prior art. The feedback system does not employ cumbersome devices that are typically not used during normal performance of the repetitive motion activity. The repetitive motion feedback system provides a means for determining detailed information regarding a user's performance of the repetitive motion. There is no need for a coach or instructor to oversee the user during his or her performance to provide feedback and instruction. In fact, the feedback system can provide more detailed information regarding the repetitive motion than most coaches or instructors can usually provide by mere observation of the performer.

[0116] The information is provided immediately in real time upon performing the repetitive motion so that the user can review and study the information immediately after the performance and during his or her practice session.

[0117] Feedback can be provided by the feedback system based upon differences in the user's performance to a template. This allows the user to know what the user is doing differently from the template and allows the user to attempt correction of the repetitive motion. Affirmative instruction feedback can also be provided based upon the differences between the performed activity and the template so that the user knows what he or she is doing wrong without having to make detailed study. Further, based upon the instruction feedback, the user can review or replay the displayed repetitive motion sequence to focus on those things indicated by the instruction feedback that were occurring during the performance so the user can see just what and how it occurred.

[0118] Data regarding the user's performances can be stored and accessed through a communication network so that the user can access and review the information at a different place and time, as well. The user can see past performances and monitor improvements in the repetitive motion activity or see differences between past and future performances.

[0119] The feedback system also can be used by coaches and instructors, as well, to help them analyze an individuals performance and thereby provide more effective instruction. The coach or instructor may also assist the user in determining or selecting a suitable template or model repetitive motion sequence for future comparison purposes.

[0120] The device can be used in facilitating selection of equipment used during the repetitive motion sequence. The feedback system allows the individual to analyze their performance and see how they perform with different equipment, such as shoes, rackets, clubs, balls, etc.

[0121] The feedback system can also be used to compare the user's performance with other performers. Thus, the system can be used as a game or competition wherein individual users can compete or compare their performances with one another. A number of different feedback systems can be interconnected by a communication network so that users can compete with one another or access their own information from different locations.

[0122] While the invention has been shown in only some of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes and modifications without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification434/252
International ClassificationA63B69/36, A63B69/00, A63B69/38, A63B69/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2243/0054, A63B69/38, A63B69/02, A63B24/0021, A63B2220/806, A63B2024/0031, A63B24/0003, A63B69/3658, A63B2024/0012, A63B2220/807, A63B2220/35, A63B2069/0008, A63B2069/3605, A63B2220/05, A63B2069/367, A63B2220/51, A63B69/3623
European ClassificationA63B69/36D, A63B69/36E, A63B24/00E, A63B24/00A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 20, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: DEVELOP YOUR GAME, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EVENSEN, MARK H.;REEL/FRAME:012196/0884
Effective date: 20010919