Wireless Motion Capture promises a better golf game for everyone
By Mike Hanlon
April 20, 2005
There must be something about the gentle art of playing golf that fires the creative synapses – in three years of Gizmag editorial, we have seen countless efforts to assist us mere mortals to play a better game of golf. We were recently very impressed with the advanced technologies of the Top Swing Golf Robot and felt almost certain that the technologies and understanding offered by Top swing could not be bettered. We were wrong. iClub’s remarkable technologies promise a detailed understanding of one’s own imperfect golf swing, a monitoring of the improvements to the swing and technique through remedial actions and ultimately, a vastly improved golf game.
The iClub system includes a suite of golf instructional products proven to help a golfer dramatically improve performance. Created by scientists, engineers, and faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the system combines wireless motion sensing platforms and state- of-the-art technology to create the best instructional products in the world.
The iClub suite of products includes a Body Motion System and the iClub. The Body Motion System is a lightweight vest with embedded sensors that measures power gains and losses during a swing; and, the iClub is a tiny sensor that attaches to the end of any golf club and measures motion during a swing. Data from both devices is sent wirelessly to a personal computer where artificial intelligence converts the information to a 3-D view of the person and club in motion. The system is yielding such radically quick improvements in students golf games that America’s leading Golf instruction organization, GolfTEC plans to integrate the Body Motion System with its own instructional technologies beginning next month (May, 2005) and with a full rollout expected by the end of 2005.
The Body Motion and iClub systems will be used along with GolfTEC's patented SEVA system to provide players with high-end, high-tech golf instruction at dozens of GolfTEC learning centres located across America. GolfTEC's patented SEVA system allows for fact-based instruction by integrating video, 3-D motion analysis, impact analysis and biofeedback technology.
iClub technology is working with many other professional golf instructors, to assist professional golf instructors to pinpoint student problems and apply more targeted corrections, with the result of achieving faster improvement.
Another such strategic partnership is between iClub and the elite private membership club and learning centre, Harmon Golf. Located 20 miles south of Boston, the Harmon Golf facility features the latest in video swing analysis, computer imagery and ball flight monitor technology plus acres of dedicated practice grounds, a championship golf course and Fitcorp health club.
IGolf and Harmon Golf are working together in research partnership where the Golf swings from thousands of PGA professional and amateur golfers will be analyzed for the purpose of generating more precise swing flaw diagnoses.
The research partnership is jointly lead by Kim Blair, iClub's Vice President of Research and Director of the Center for Sports Innovation at MIT; and Harmon's Tom Cavicchi, winner of the New England Professional Golf Association Teacher of the Year award.
iClub technology takes us beyond what the human eye is capable of seeing. Breakdowns can happen at so many different points in the swing that determining cause and effect is often the most difficult, and admittedly most overlooked component in golf instruction -- yet it truly is the most important piece and a cornerstone of what we do here at Harmon. We are therefore proud and enthusiastic to have the opportunity to partner with iClub in this endeavor to bring faster success to the golfing public," stated Tom Cavicchi, Harmon's Director of Golf.
"Our preliminary findings have turned up some fascinating results," stated Dr. Blair. "As we release them over the next few months, we anticipate reducing the learning curve for golfers of all skills and handicaps."