|Publication number||US20070197314 A1|
|Application number||US 11/673,505|
|Publication date||Aug 23, 2007|
|Filing date||Feb 9, 2007|
|Priority date||Feb 9, 2006|
|Also published as||CN101378812A, WO2007095081A1|
|Publication number||11673505, 673505, US 2007/0197314 A1, US 2007/197314 A1, US 20070197314 A1, US 20070197314A1, US 2007197314 A1, US 2007197314A1, US-A1-20070197314, US-A1-2007197314, US2007/0197314A1, US2007/197314A1, US20070197314 A1, US20070197314A1, US2007197314 A1, US2007197314A1|
|Inventors||Andrew York, Wade Stevens, Victoria Peters|
|Original Assignee||York Andrew W, Wade Stevens, Peters Victoria J|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (8), Classifications (10), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/772,016, filed Feb. 9, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
This disclosure relates generally to the sport of golf and more particularly, but not exclusively, to rangefinding in the context of golfing.
It is known to utilize rangefinding instruments while golfing to inform a golfer of the distance to a target, such a hole or pin, on a golf course. Several laser-based rangefinders targeted to the golf market are commercially available. Such rangefinders with a club selection or club suggestion feature are also known. For example, such a rangefinder is disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/02211905 of Dunne et al. The rangefinder described in Dunne et al. collects data about a golfer's hitting distances for various clubs and recommends a club based on that data and a distance to target as measured on the course. Dunne et al. discloses that various other sensors, such as a tilt sensor, can be incorporated into the rangefinder and purports to take tilt into account when recommending a club to the user. However, the only tilt-based adjustments mentioned in Dunne et al. are using a higher or lower numbered club in the case of a downward or upward tilt, respectively. Furthermore, the rangefinder described in Dunne et al. does not make any suggestion to the user other than the club to use.
Another rangefinder is disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0077375 of Vermillion et al. The rangefinder described in Vermillion et al. determines a second range to a target based on a first range to the target and an angle to the target such that the parabolic trajectory of a golf ball is accounted for in determining the second range. The rangefinder described in Vermillion et al. includes a range sensor for determining a first range to a target, a tilt sensor for determining an angle to the target, and a computing element for determining a second range to the target based on the first range and the determined angle. While Vermillion et al. may recommend a desired change in golf club selection, it does not does not make any other suggestion, such as a recommended swing speed. In addition, Vermillion et al. does not select one or more recommended clubs based on a hitter ability.
According to one embodiment, a device for use while golfing comprises a rangefinder, a memory, a display, an input device, and a processor. The rangefinder determines a distance between a user and a target on a golf course. The memory stores data concerning a plurality of golf clubs, the data including a hitting distance for each of the golf clubs. The display can be viewed by the golfer. The input device receives from the user an indication of a selected hitter ability from at least two different hitter abilities. The processor is in communication with the rangefinder, the memory, the display, and the input device. The processor is configured to select, based on the distance, the hitter ability, and the data, a recommended golf club from of the plurality of golf clubs. The processor is further configured to cause the display to indicate the recommended golf club.
According to another embodiment, a method uses an electronic device in aid of golfing. The method determines a distance between a user and a target on a golf course and accesses data concerning a plurality of golf clubs, the data including a hitting distance for each of the golf clubs. The electronic device identifies, based on the distance, the data, and a hitter ability selected by a user from at least two different hitter abilities, a recommended golf club from the plurality of golf clubs. The electronic device displays the recommended golf club for viewing by the user.
According to yet another embodiment, a device for use while golfing comprises a rangefinder, a memory, a display, and a processor. The rangefinder can determine a distance between a user and a target on a golf course. The memory stores data concerning a plurality of golf clubs, the data including a hitting distance for each of the golf clubs. The display can be viewed by the user. The processor is connected to the rangefinder, the memory, and the display. The processor is configured to identify, based on the distance and the data, a recommended golf club from the plurality of golf clubs and to determine a recommended swing speed for a golfer to hit a golf ball with the recommended golf club. The processor is further configured to cause the display to indicate the recommended golf club and the recommended swing speed.
According to yet another embodiment, a method uses an electronic device in aid of golfing. The method receives an input from a user including a first hitting distance of a first golf club in a set of golf clubs. The method calculates a hitting distance for one or more of the other golf clubs in the set based on the first hitting distance and stores the first hitting distance and the one or more calculated hitting distances in memory. The method determines a target distance between the user and a target on a golf course. The method identifies, based on the target distance and the stored hitting distances, a recommended golf club from the set of golf clubs and displays the recommended golf club for viewing by the user.
Details concerning the construction and operation of particular embodiments are set forth in the following sections with reference to the below-listed drawings.
With reference to the above-listed drawings, this section describes particular embodiments and their detailed construction and operation. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, certain embodiments may be capable of achieving certain advantages over the known prior art, including some or all of the following: (1) aiding golfers to a greater extent; (2) providing golfers with swing speed guidance in addition to club selection guidance; and (3) providing more accurate ranging by more accurately taking account of the effects of inclination. These and other advantages of various embodiments will be apparent upon reading the following.
A power button 66, when depressed, turns on certain electronics of the device 50 and causes the rangefinder 54 to emit laser pulses and acquire range readings. The device 50 also has a pair of menu interface buttons 68 for operating menus for inputting setup information and enabling functions of the rangefinder 54, as described in more detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/265,546, entitled “Rotary Menu Display and Targeting Reticles for Laser Rangefinders and the Like,” filed Nov. 1, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The display 100 may include a circular menu along its perimeter, which can be navigated using buttons the 66, 68 to select one or more of various functions of the device 50. The visual elements on the display 100 include a reticle 110, which indicates where the rangefinder 54 is pointed (i.e., where the laser beam of a laser-based rangefinder is directed) and thus where a measurement reading is taken. Below the reticle 110 is a line-of-sight distance readout 120, as measured by the rangefinder 54. This distance may be reported in meters, yards, or other units of length. Above the reticle 110 is a “true” distance readout 130. The true distance is calculated based on inclination measurements and possibly golf ball flight data to better account for the effects of elevation difference between the target and the golfer using the device 50. Details of those calculations are described below in this document. The display 100 also includes a suggested club indicator 140, which indicates a club that the device 50 recommends the golfer to use based on the line-of-sight distance, true distance, and possibly other factors. In addition, the display 100 furthermore indicates a suggested swing speed for the golfer to hit the ball using the suggested club in order to reach or move toward the target. The suggested swing speed is preferably indicated by means of a swing meter 150 or other graphical scale. Algorithms for selecting a club and determining a swing speed are described below in this document.
Along the perimeter of the display 100 are ball type selections 160, denoted “A,” “B,” and “C” in
The display 100 may also include one or more hitter abilities (not shown). For example, a pro, men's, senior men's, women's, and senior women's hitter ability may be denoted “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” and “5” respectively. A greater or lesser number of hitter abilities can be used and/or displayed. The user can make an appropriate selection to best reflect the one or more hitter abilities that best reflects their hitting ability. As described in greater detail below, the club selection and swing speed suggestion algorithms can take into account the hitter ability when recommending one or more clubs. According to one embodiment, each golf club has associated with it a hitting distance, or range of hitting distances, for each hitter ability. For example, a pro hitter ability may have a hitting distance of 310 yards (or a range of 290 to 330 yards) associated with a driver, a men's hitter ability may have a hitting distance of 255 yards (or a range of 250 to 280 yards) associated with a driver, and a women's hitter ability may have a hitting distance of 195 yards (or a range of 190 to 220 yards) associated with a driver. In another embodiment, data concerning club range is scaled by a factor based on the hitter ability. For example, a pro hitter ability may have a factor of 1.5, a men's hitter ability may have a factor of 1.3 and a women's hitter ability may have a factor of 1.0. Assuming a driver has a hitting distance of 200 yards (or a range of 195 to 205 yards) and the user indicates that they have a pro hitter ability, the range may be scaled by a factor of 50 percent (e.g., multiplied by 1.5) to approximately 300 yards (or a range of 293 to 308 yards).
According to yet another embodiment, a user may indicate that they belong to more than one hitting ability. For example, the hitting abilities may include short hitter, mid hitter, long hitter, male hitter, and female hitter. The user could indicate that they are a male hitter and then indicate that they have a long hitter ability, mid hitter ability, or short hitter ability. By way of example, a male short hitter may have a range of 200 to 230 yards with a driver, a male mid hitter may have a range of 230 to 260 yards with a driver, and a male long hitter may have a range of 260 to 290 yards with a driver. Likewise, a female short hitter may have a range of 150 to 170 yards with a driver, a female mid hitter may have a range of 170 to 190 yards with a driver, and a female long hitter may have a range of 190 to 220 yards. Other hitter abilities may include a PGA pro, LPGA pro, and an amateur, for example. In addition, the user may input a profile for a set of clubs. For example, the user may indicate that they are long with irons but short with woods.
According to still another embodiment, the user may enter a hitting distance, or range of hitting distances, for all or a subset of the user's golf clubs. If the user enters a hitting distance for a subset of the user's golf clubs, a hitting distance for one or more of the other golf clubs may be calculated based on the hitting distance(s) of two or more golf clubs in the subset, such as by using known interpolation or extrapolation techniques. For example, if the user has a hitting distance of 150 yards with a 5-iron and 130 yards with a 7-iron, a hitting distance of 140 yards with a 6-iron and 160 yards with a 4-iron could be inferred for the user. In addition, if the user enters hitting distance data for one golf club, a hitting distance for one or more of the other golf clubs may be calculated using a hitting distance increment between golf clubs. For example, if the user has a hitting distance of 150-yards with a 7-iron, a hitting distance of 160-yards with a 6-iron, 170-yards with a 5-iron, and 180 yards with a 4-iron can be calculated assuming a 10 yard increment between golf clubs. As discussed in greater detail with respect to
Finally, the display 100 includes various other indicia, such as the user's handicap 180, current temperature 190 or other sensed condition such as angle of inclination with respect to the target, and a battery charge indicator 195. In other versions of the display 100, the visual elements may be re-arranged, some elements shown in
Various reticles 110 are possible, some of which are shown for the sake of illustration in
The processor 410 may be any form of processor and is preferably a digital processor, such as a general-purpose microprocessor or a digital signal processor (DSP), for example. The processor 410 may be readily programmable; hard-wired, such as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC); or programmable under special circumstances, such as a programmable logic array (PLA) or field programmable gate array (FPGA), for example. Program memory for the processor 410 may be integrated within the processor 410, may be part of the memory 420, or may be an external memory.
The processor 410 executes one or more programs to control the operation of the other components, to transfer data between the other components, to associate data from the various components together (preferably in a suitable data structure), to perform calculations using the data, to otherwise manipulate the data, and to present results to the user. For example, the processor 410 preferably executes a club selection and swing speed determination algorithm.
The memory 420 may store default club distance data, custom club distance data, programs executed on the processor 410, and other data (e.g., map graphic files). The memory 420 may be permanent or removable.
The display driver 430 can interface with the processor 410 and the display 100 to present, for example, in textual and/or graphical form the club selection and swing speed suggestions calculated by the processor 410. Some versions of the system 100 may not include the display 100, in which case the display driver 430 may instead drive an external display wirelessly or via a wired connection. The external display may be a PDA (personal digital assistant), handheld computer, mobile phone, dedicated display unit for the device 50, printer, or the like.
The user input interface 440 may interface to one or more user input devices, such as the buttons 66 or other controls.
The external device interface 450 allows for connection to an external device, such as another computer, a display screen, a printer, etc. The external device interface 185 preferably provides an industry standard interface, such as a wireless or wired connection. In the case of a wired connection, a data bus may be provided using any protocol, such as Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA), Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA), and/or Universal Serial Bus (USB), for example. The wireless connection may use low powered electromagnetic waves to transmit data using any wireless protocol, such as Bluetooth™, WiFi, or IEEE 802.11, for example. Any of the components illustrated in
One particular example of an electronic device connectable to the device 50 via the external device interface 450 is a computer, to which the device 50 connects as a peripheral. Such a computer may be a personal computer, a handheld computer such as a PDA (personal digital assistant) or smart mobile phone, or the like. Taking advantage of the external computer's expanded user interface can simplify certain data-entry tasks for the user, such as entering characteristics of the user's clubs (e.g., available irons, available woods, and associated face or loft angles), ball data, the user's distance performance characteristics (i.e., how far he or she hits the ball) for each club in the user's set, the one or more hitter abilities that best reflects their hitting ability, and data regarding course layout for a selected golf course. Club data (e.g., loft angles and default distances for the average user of such clubs), ball data, and course layout are preferably made available by the club or ball manufacturers or seller or golf courses for downloading by the user. Preferably the user enters several custom distances for each club by swing speed (or suitable approximation, such as hard swing, medium swing, soft swing) so that a swing speed profile can be constructed for each club. This data can be obtained by the user hitting balls at a driving range and noting the club used, speed of swing, and length of hit. Alternatively, the computer may execute a software program to query the user about his or her golf experience in order to deduce or estimate the user's distance data for various clubs. For example, data about the user's gender, height, weight, golf experience, handicap, etc. can be used to adjust default club-distance values.
Other sensors may optionally be a part of the device 50 or connectable to the device 50. Such other sensors include an inclinometer (i.e., tilt sensor), temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, an altimeter, an anemometer, a compass, and a barometer, for example. With knowledge of the variable(s) measured by the one or more sensors, the processor 410 can calculate the density of air or other parameters affecting a golf ball's flight.
The device 50 may also optionally include or be able to communicate with a GPS receiver 470, which can determine the location of the device in terms of latitude, longitude and altitude. In addition, device 50 and/or GPS receiver 470 may include an altimeter to provide altitude readings. Armed with that information and latitude-longitude-altitude data regarding possible targets on the golf course, the device 50 can compute line-of-sight distance and inclination without utilizing the rangefinder 54 or other sensors. The club selection and swing speed suggestion algorithms described herein can operate on such data, whether obtained from a GPS receiver, a rangefinder and inclinometer, or otherwise.
Next the method 500 computes (530) an adjusted distance based on the LOS distance and the inclination. According to one embodiment, the adjusted distance may be an equivalent horizontal range. With reference to
The equivalent horizontal range 625 is a function of the LOS distance and the angle of inclination, or ƒ(LOS, θ). The trajectory 620 may be defined by a polynomial equation or set of polynomial equations that can be solved to determine the equivalent horizontal range 625 based on the LOS distance, the angle of inclination, and other factors. By way of example, knowing the LOS distance 615 and angle of inclination, θ, the elevation of the pin 605 above ground (e.g., the x-axis) may be calculated. Because the trajectory 620 of the ball may be thought of as a vertical and horizontal position over time, the curve and its polynomial equation may be solved to ensure that at the time the ball intersects with the pin 605, it has an elevation equal to the elevation calculated using the LOS distance 615 and angle of inclination, θ. An imaginary trajectory 620 can then be extended through the hill 610 to a point horizontally located from the golfer (e.g., where the ball would intersect the x-axis but for the hill 610). The equivalent horizontal range 625 can then be calculated as the horizontal distance between the golfer and the imaginary point at which the ball intersected the x-axis. In addition, the equivalent horizontal range 625 may be a function of an initial velocity of a golf ball, an altitude of the golfer above sea level, a barometric pressure, an ambient temperature, a relative humidity, and possibly other factors.
Further, the adjusted distance may be a true distance analogous to TRUE BALLISTIC RANGE™, which is an equivalent horizontal range that takes into account inclination, as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/555,591, entitled “Ballistic Ranging Methods and Systems for Inclined Shooting,” filed Nov. 1, 2006, which is incorporated herein in its entirety. The principles disclosed in that application can be applied to golf ball flight trajectories, the primary differences being in the aerodynamics of a golf ball as compared to a bullet, the dependence of take-off direction on the club used (higher numbered clubs resulting in a steeper take-off direction, and lower numbered clubs resulting in a more level take-off direction), and the dependence of initial ball velocity on swing speed. For a number of different club and swing speed combinations, the processor 410 or other suitable processor can determine a number of different calculated shot positions using the equations and principles set forth above and in the above-referenced application and then choose the most appropriate combination or a few of the most appropriate combinations at steps 550 and 560 and display them at step 570. Iterative techniques can be applied to fine tune the swing speed to a more precise value for a given club. When there are multiple appropriate combinations, the displaying step 570 may cycle sequentially through the combinations of recommended club selection and corresponding swing speed for each club or display some or all of them simultaneously to the extent the display 100 has the space and capability to do so.
Other methods of calculating an adjusted distance are taught in the prior art.
As part of the foregoing, the method 500 accesses (540) the player's club-distance data, which may be default values, custom values, values based on the hitter ability, or some combination of these.
Optionally, the method 500 may also determine a type of golf ball to use for the shot. Different golf balls have different flight or ballistic characteristics. Some balls are designed for maximum carry, others for shorter distances with more predictable flight. Thus, the club-distance data accessed at step 540 may be club-ball-distance data. Ball type is another variable that can be chosen and suggested to the golfer. In this case, the method 500 performs an additional step (not shown) to select a club. This may be performed, for example, by calculating final ball positions based on trajectory calculations for a number of different ball-club-swing speed combinations and choosing the closest one or closest few.
The method 500 may calculate and/or recommend only a club, both a club and a swing speed, both a club and ball type, all three, or any other combination of the three. Thus, the swing speed determining step 560 is optional. In addition, the method 500 may select (550), based on the hitter ability, the determined LOS distance, the adjusted distance, and/or the club-distance data, one or more recommended clubs. This may involve the additional steps (not shown) of selecting the hitter ability from multiple different hitter ability groups, for example a pro, men's, senior men's, women's, and senior women's hitter ability, and scaling the data concerning the hitting distances associated with the golf clubs by a factor based on the hitter ability.
In addition, the displaying step 570 may display other information, such as the LOS distance, the true distance, and other measured variables. For example, the temperature display 190 can alternately display inclination angle for a period of time, say, for example, about five seconds, before reverting to a temperature readout.
The device 50 may have additional capabilities, and the method 500 may perform other functions, not necessarily illustrated in the drawings. For example, the device 50 can include a handicap tracker and can display the player's handicap 190, as illustrated in
As yet another example, the device 50 can be used to range to the golf ball after the shot is completed. This can provide immediate feedback to the player regarding hitting distance. This measured range can also be used to supplement the player's club-distance database. Entries in this database can be time-stamped. When enough data is accumulated in the database, it better represents the user's abilities. If the data is time-stamped and sufficiently copious, then the accessing step 540 can filter the data, such as by a exponentially weighted window over time so as to give greater weight to more recent data. If compass bearing and inclination are also measured at the time of ranging to the hit ball, then the location of the hit ball can be calculated. This location can be displayed on a map to provide a graphical depiction of the user's play for a particular hole or an entire round. This calculated location can also be used to determine a range to the next target.
The algorithms for operating the methods and systems illustrated and described herein can exist in a variety of forms both active and inactive. For example, they can exist as one or more software or firmware programs comprised of program instructions in source code, object code, executable code or other formats. Any of the above can be embodied on a computer-readable medium, which include storage devices and signals, in compressed or uncompressed form. Exemplary computer-readable storage devices include conventional computer system RAM (random access memory), ROM (read only memory), EPROM (erasable, programmable ROM), EEPROM (electrically erasable, programmable ROM), flash memory and magnetic or optical disks or tapes. Exemplary computer-readable signals, whether modulated using a carrier or not, are signals that a computer system hosting or running a computer program can be configured to access, including signals downloaded through the Internet or other networks. Concrete examples of the foregoing include distribution of software on a CD ROM or via Internet download. In a sense, the Internet itself, as an abstract entity, is a computer-readable medium. The same is true of computer networks in general.
The terms and descriptions used herein are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. Those skilled in the art will recognize that many variations can be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. For example, the “target” about which a note is made may be a geological, geographical, botanical, cartographical, human, or social feature or condition. In the following listing of claims, all terms are to be understood in their broadest reasonable sense unless otherwise indicated, and equivalents of the claims' terms and elements are expressly reserved within the scope of this invention.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8314923 *||Jul 21, 2010||Nov 20, 2012||Leupold & Stevens, Inc.||Configurable rangefinding devices and methods|
|US8529380 *||Aug 20, 2012||Sep 10, 2013||Dale Edward Hubenthal||Apparatus, system and method for golf club recommendation|
|US8749765 *||Nov 29, 2011||Jun 10, 2014||Stmicroelectronics (Research & Development) Limited||Application using a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD)|
|US9058081||Sep 23, 2011||Jun 16, 2015||Stmicroelectronics (Research & Development) Limited||Application using a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD)|
|US20110021293 *||Jul 21, 2010||Jan 27, 2011||York Andrew W||Configurable rangefinding devices and methods|
|US20120133921 *||Nov 29, 2011||May 31, 2012||Stmicroelectronics (Research & Development) Limited||Application using a single photon avalanche diode (spad)|
|WO2010099732A1 *||Mar 1, 2010||Sep 10, 2010||Chongqing Haizhu Optical Science And Technology Co., Ltd||Solar powered rangefinder|
|WO2014046438A2 *||Sep 16, 2013||Mar 27, 2014||Sang Hyun Yoo||Collimation device for distance measurement|
|Cooperative Classification||A63B2220/20, A63B55/08, A63B69/36, G01S17/10, A63B2069/3605, A63B57/00|
|European Classification||A63B57/00, A63B69/36|
|Mar 21, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LEUPOLD & STEVENS, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:YORK, ANDREW W.;STEVENS, WADE;PETERS, VICTORIA J.;REEL/FRAME:019039/0115
Effective date: 20070226