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Technical News

System Updates & Development News

GSA Golf daily updates and news

Hi! I'm Martin Paul Gardiner

Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf

Regularly check out my tech news page for all our latest developments and free updates

GSA Golf tech news is updated almost daily!

so make sure to check in for all the latest updates and news regularly

If you have any questions

please feel free to contact me personally anytime from M to F - 12noon to 3pm US ET via e-mail at

Please Note: We're closed on weekends and all US national holidays

If you are contacting us on the weekends or on national holidays,

then we'll make best effort to get back to you within 24 hours of the next working day.

Did you get a response to your e-mail?

We get really busy at times and e-mail responses can be late or even forgotten at times.

Please remind us again if you didn't get a response to your e-mail.

Note: we are not receiving or responding to emails

on weekends or on national holidays.

Weekends at GSAgolf are used solely for system development and product assembly

Emails sent to us after 3pm Friday will get answered to the following Monday

Emails sent to us after 3pm on work days are not read until the next day

Email responses are usually only made between 12 noon and 3 pm

 


CP updates

New style CP Updates

These updates are compatible with the new SSi cameras


Browser blocking the download?

From what we gather, Google's new policy is to block all exe file downloads from websites that are not on their trusted "White List".

So until then, all users wishing to download the latest CP updates may have to go through the above shown process.

Note: do the above procedure after the download has completed and you get the "blocked" message from Google Chrome

Even then, your Virus Protection software will probably be complaining about it too.

Click the "Trust Now" in this case.

Download VC redistributables hereHere

Download latest Camera DLL hereHere

Don't forget to run the download after it's downloaded!

A number of customers don't realize that a CP update is a dual process

i.e first download and then run the download

Note that anti-virus programs will probably try to block the GSA Golf CP update download but - be assured - there's no malicious software in the download update

so just ignore any warnings from your anti-virus programs and choose the "More options" and "Run anyway" option.


Click above button to read more...

GSA Golf VisTrak Cameras

Click above image to read more...

All VisTrak cameras are the same and modular, so you can swap them around in different configurations

Only 1 to 2 cameras are required to make up any of the above configurations

 

 


October 6 1:00 pm

Optional ball placement laser guide now available for all ceiling mounted cameras

Laser automatically switches off when ball is located. Click above image to read more...

V 9.8.3.8

Advanced club detection is now default ON

All club data is now derived from the IBS club frames including face angle, path and speed

The new ACD (Advanced Club Detection) is functioning so well now, it is now the standard club detection method.

This CP update has the latest ACD features


October 2 1:32 pm

V 9.8.3.3

First results of the new advanced club detection method that detects club data without markings

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Using IBS (Image Background Subtraction), the method entails subtracting a frame image of the mat before ball strike (some 8 frames back in the video sequence)

from the frame image of the mat just before ball strike. Ideally the result would leave a clear binary image of just the club.

However, there is currently still a lot of "noise" in the IBS result image which may cause false club data readings.

Next step is to run the image through a noise reduction process to remove all those small specs.

Never-the-less, even with all the noise, the club face can still be detected.


October 1 8:27 am

Hurricane Ian : GSA Golf back online on Monday

We are starting to get Power and Internet services back on now and should be ready for business again on Monday


September 27 4:35 pm

Measured Ball Spin and Club detection without markings on balls and clubs

coming soon for all VisTrak systems

New ASD and ACD free software updates that detect both ball spin and club data without markings

While the ability to detect ball spin without markings on the ball will require a hardware upgrade (i.e. an IR Xenon flash), club data detection without markings doesn't.

Using IBS (Image Background Suppression) methods, accurate club data (club face, path and speed) should be relatively easy to detect.

As applying markings to the club seems to be the biggest issue that most complain about, the ACD club detection software will take priority now.


September 24 4:05 pm

Ball spin detection without ball markings

It should be noted that in order to detect ball spin with balls that have no markings on them, high resolution images of the ball that clearly show the dimple patterns are required.

While the regular VisTrak hi-speed - but low resolution - camera works just fine when clear markings are on the ball,

the ball images do not have sufficient resolution to clearly show the dimple patterns.

In order to obtain hi-resolution images of the ball in flight, the camera has to be set to hi-res mode and an IR-Xenon flash is required.

So, while it's great that we now have the proven code process that detects ball spin without ball markings, we don't - as of yet anyway - have the hi-resolution images.

As stated before, the IR Xenon hi-resolution camera systems are expected to be ready in the 1st quarter of 2023


September 23 10:45 am

V 9.8.3.2

Ball spin detection without ball markings

Amazingly accurate results using test ball images

Are these results too good to be true?

The test method used here is to take a ball image and paste it into a VisTrak frame 1 using Photoshop.

Then rotate the ball image a certain number of degrees and paste it into frame 2.

Then load the frames into the CP and run the images through the spin calculation process.

The spin calculation process rotates the ball image in frame1, one degree at a time, and compares it to the ball image in frame 2.

The comparison process subtracts each and every pixel gray scale level from the ball image in frame1 from the level in frame2, and the result is stored in a "degree match" table.

We then just have to search the "degree match" table for the best match result to get the number of rotation degrees.

Knowing the amount of rotation within a certain frame time allows us to determine the ball spin rate.

My question at the moment though is "to what extent is the non-uniform lighting" effecting the results?

More tests using the VisTrak side camera are thus required.

Nevertheless, I'm very happy with these results. Almost fell off my chair when seeing the results this morning in fact.


V 9.8.3.0

Ball spin detection without ball markings

First test results of low resolution ball image spin detection are promising and show proof of concept.


September 21 5:45 pm

V 9.8.2.9

Fix: LA sometimes being set to zero in VisTrak systems


September 20 1:50 pm

Ball spin detection without ball markings

Tests of this new feature show that the method works very well with systems featuring floor mounted cameras. i.e. KX, EVi and LX

This method also negates the requirement to select the spin options "ball dots on ball" and "ball logo or line on ball".

First release should be ready tomorrow afternoon.


September 18 9:51 am

Ball spin detection without ball markings

Coding of this project is well underway and should be completed by the coming weekend.

Method will function for both side and ceiling mounted cameras and for both hi and low resolution images.

How the SCX Xenon measures ball spin without real dots.

The method compares and matches dimple patterns of two ball images.

Using two fast hi-resolution images of the ball in flight,

a dot matrix is used to sample the gray-scale level of every virtual dot in the image of the ball.

Thereafter, a series dot pattern matching processes of the two ball images

- involving multiple rotation and x,y shifting steps - are performed.

The result of the matching process then determines the amount of ball rotation and its direction within the time of the 2 frames.

From these results, spin rate, side spin and spin axis can be calculated.


September 17 3:18 pm

New SSi camera setup video


September 16 1:35 pm

V 9.8.2.7

Updates for VisTrak SSi camera systems.

New: Min ball size increased to 30 px

Fix: Putting frame speed adjust not functioning correctly.


September 13 6:10 pm

Looks like our modular and multiple configuration hi-speed camera tracking systems are a world's first.

Not to mention our super low prices.


September 11 12:18 pm

New Ball Spin YouTube video

The new VisTrak ball spin video is now completed and online


September 8 5:15 pm

V 9.8.2.4

Updates for VisTrak EVi and KX2i systems


September 4 10:35 am

Business news:

GSA Golf hi-speed tracking cameras : the new "GoPro" of golf simulator camera tracking systems?

I must admit I do like the idea of selling just cameras.

Cameras have zero assembly time and take only 15 minutes to pack and ship, while cased systems take up to 15 hours of assembly time and half a day to pack and ship.

The price advantage for the consumer is huge too, with prices now starting at just $699.

Not to mention the ease of mounting and configuration flexibility.

i.e. you can convert from a ceiling mounted system (Eagle) to a floor mounted (LX) launch monitor just by repositioning the camera and lights.

Or even as a swing analysis system.

The cameras are modular too, so you add more cameras as and when budget allows.

To the best of my knowledge, no other golf simulator company is offering this type of product at present.

One reason for this could simply be that a cased / housed product looks more expensive and thus a far higher price can be commanded.

Companies selling essentially just 2 or 4 cameras and a couple of lights in a box are charging between $5,000 to $20,000 at present.

If they just sold the cameras and a maybe control box with a hardware cost probably not much more than $1,000, those super high prices would be a tad difficult to justify.

Currently my camera only systems are outselling my cased systems 10 to 1, so I'll probably be concentrating more on this business model in the future.

YouTube ball spin video coming next week

Having just completed the dual camera video playback YouTube video (see below), a ball spin video will be next up.


September 3 5:05 pm

New dual shot video playback feature video now on YouTube


September 2 1:35 pm

V 9.8.2.2

Cleaner look for video playbacks

New shot video playback overlays

The new "Mini" shot videos are immediately displayed in the game software after every shot.

The video window can be positioned anywhere in the game software.

Switch this feature on/off in the setup window

The new GSA Golf EVi and KX systems feature dual hi-speed camera 32 frame shot playback videos from both the top and side cameras after every shot

Priced from $1,299


August 27 1:05 pm

non-cased camera systems vs. cased systems

SCX cased $3,499

-

SCX non-cased - from $1,299

Advantages of non-cased camera systems:

1. Straight off the bat, non-cased camera systems are almost half the price of cased systems

Reason: while it takes some 15 hours to assemble a cased system, a non-cased camera system takes only 15 minutes.

2. Non cased cameras are far easier to mount

The SCX's total weight is over 15lbs and probably requires 2 people on two step ladders to mount,

whereas a camera only weighs a few ounces and can easily be mounted by a single person.

3. Non cased cameras are far easier to aim and focus adjust

Access to the camera's mount and lens focus dial is far easier if the camera is not cased.

4. Non cased cameras allow the user to swap cameras around in different configurations to change to different systems

For example, you can setup the cameras as an SCX, EVi, KX, or LX system simply by re-mounting the cameras and lighting.

In a cased system, the cameras and lighting are fixed for the particular system the case was designed for.

5. Fast lead and shipment times

While cased products can take well up to 4 weeks to ship, cameras are usually shipped within 24 to 48 hours.

6. No requirement to sign a sales agreement

As the value of just the cameras is a lot lower than the cased version, we can take the risk of selling the product without a sales agreement.

One of the many reasons for this is that fully cased products that weigh as much as 15 lbs can easily be damaged during transport

- seemingly no matter how well they are packed - and often a return cased product is nowhere near as well packed and thus far more likely to be damaged.

End result is that we can get a damaged unsellable product back that results in a total loss for us.

Whereas the chances of single small and light weight camera being damaged during transport is almost non existent.

Advantages of cased camera systems:

1. Other than some may say it looks better, I can't really think of any great advantage


August 23 6:30 pm

Worlds first?

GSA Golf Launch monitors with Dual camera angle 32 frame shot videos

To the best of my knowledge, the VisTrak EVi and KX2i launch monitor systems are the only LM systems on the market today

that feature dual 32 frame shot videos from both the top and side view cameras after every shot.

Prices start at $1,299


August 18 1:00 pm

V 9.8.1.4

Updates for SCX and Eagle systems


August 14 3:30 pm

New GSA Golf Camera Sets - Available on Amazon soon

for VisTrak Eagle, SCX, EV, LX, KX - with and without lighting

Priced form $699

Available on Amazon soon too.


August 12 3:30 pm

V 9.8.1.1

Updates for SCX systems

Faster data recalculations and shot video loads

Ball detection on camera 2 now after every mouse click


August 11 4:00 pm

V 9.8.1.0

New: Improved ball detection validation

Issue caused by large round light reflections on the top of shiny woods and drivers that look like a ball now fixed

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Photos of the production versions of the VisTrak LX and VisTrak Eagle now published


Click below image to read more

August 9 1:45 pm

New VisTrak EVi systems

Click below image to read more

SCX production model photos now shown on the SCX Installation page

LX and VisTrak Eagle production model photos coming later next week.


August 6 2:45 pm

V 9.8.0.8

New for SCX

1. Shot video files now include 32 frames of both left and right cameras (i.e. a total of 64 frames)

Each shot video file size is now 9 MB

2. Stereo disparity and ball height off ground is now calculated and shown every time a soft trigger is made.

Useful for stereo calibration and verification

A number of other smaller issues fixed


July 30 3:00 pm

First production SCX completed today

All went as planned and I'm very pleased with the new look of the product.

One major change was to separate the power supplies from the unit as I wanted to keep the weight down as much as possible

and also keep the balance equal. i.e. adding the power supplies to one end or the other made the unit lopsided

and - due the TV mount being centered - it wasn't possible to also mount the power supplies centered.

The power unit can either be mounted on the ceiling or at floor level so that the on/off switch is more easily accessible.

Indicator lights

All new SSi systems - SCX, Eagle, LX and KX also now feature LED indicator lights.

Red for power and green to indicate the system is either looking for the ball (flashing) and ball found (constant ON).

This feature wasn't quite as easy as it sounds as the new SSi cameras only feature Opto Coupler GPIO lines that electrically isolate the lines from the camera itself and have no power.

Took me the best part of 8 hours to figure out a method to attach and drive LEDs to these lines but managed to complete it in the end.


July 18 6:30 pm

New selection of lower priced wall and ceiling mounted panels now available

Click above image to read more...

July 18 6:00 pm

GS Pro API and integration now completed

V 9.8.0.1

The new GS Pro game software integration to all GSA Golf tracking system products is now available.

Click the above image to read more about GS Pro golf simulator game software...

GS Pro software is available for a $250 per annum subscription


July 15 3:15 pm

V 9.8.0.0

New CP release

New: AOA degrees display now integrated into the shot data display panel.

SCX to SCX Xenon upgrade

Purchasers of the regular SCX will be able to upgrade their system to SCX Xenon specs

at a later date by adding the IR Xenon flash unit if desired.

SCX IR dual flash unit $1,000


June 24 11:52 am

Today's new VisTrak features

1. AOA launch angle and club loft comparisons now shown

The red balls show what the launch angle would be if ball was struck square to the ball so that the LA would equal the loft of the club

The white balls show what the actual LA was for the shot.

2. Measured spin axis is now also shown.


June 23 5:35 pm

New VisTrak LX/KX ball spin calculation method

New improved ball spin detection methods coming shortly for VisTrak side mounted camera systems. i.e. LX and KX

June 23 1:15 pm

VisTrak SCX/Eagle ball spin calculation

Spin calculations are now being made over multiple frames.

i.e. not just the last 2 speed frames but all relevant frames of the ball in flight.

An average back spin and side spin is then calculated.


June 21 4:08 pm

Regarding ball spin detection with the new SSi cameras used in the VisTrak i systems (SCXi and Eagle),

the only remaining issue I'm dealing with now is the ability to precisely detect the center of the ball spin dots with low resolution ball images.

Note: To the best of my knowledge and judging from the shot playback videos I've seen, Uneekor QED systems are also running the cameras in low resolution mode.

Presumably in order to attain the high 800 fps or so frame rate.

The problem doesn't occur when using hi-resolution images (as shown below) but we won't be able to attain the high frame rate with such hi-resolution frames.

I hope to have this issue resolved shortly though.

Note that the SCX Xenon will be using one of the 2 stereo cameras in hi-resolution mode.

Talking of the SCX xenon, there's a possibility that we wouldn't require a third high res camera.

i.e. we could operate one of the two stereo cameras in high res mode - for hi def ball spin images - and the other in low res mode for full FOV frame images of the swing.

If works, this would reduce the price of the SCX Xenon down to just $3,999

i.e. almost a third of the price of a Uneekor EYE XO that - to the best of my knowledge - has a MSRP price now of $11,000.


June 18 2:15 pm

SCX vs Uneekor ball spin comaprison

In order to do a first basic comparison test, I copied 2 ball frames from a Uneekor playback video and plugged them into a VisTrak playback video.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the comparison results are very close even though the VisTrak spin dot detection is still not perfect.

Using Photoshop measuring tools, I could calculate that the average dot shift on the vertical axis with the two Uneekor ball images was 7 pixels,

as was the dot shift in the VisTrak ball images.

Due to a phantom spin dot in the center of VisTrak ball frame 1, the side spin had to be estimated.

The main discrepancy being just caused by using different shot videos. i.e. the VisTrak video had a closed club face and the Uneekor an open club face.

If both shot videos were the same then even the estimated side spin would be almost identical.

This test confirms that my method of ball spin detection from an overhead camera works well.

Main issue now is to figure out where the phantom dot is coming from in frame 1 and to improve spin dot centering when the dot is close to the ball's perimeter.

The math to measure ball spin from an overhead camera is a tad complicated (at least it is for me) but seems to work well.


June 6 5:00 pm

SCXi / Eagle i - Ball spin dot detection

Tests today showed that ball spin dot detection works just fine using the Bridgestone marked balls.

SCXi - Club Angle of Attack (AOA) detection

AOA detection is coming later this month

How the AOA strip works:

The AOA strip has an overall known length and a known length when viewed from overhead with a known club loft.

If striking the ball on the down swing, the length will appear to shorter, and appear longer if hit on the up swing.

Based on this variation, AOA can be calculated.


May 30 2:20 pm

VisTrak SCXi and Ei Spin detection coding now completed

Both back spin and side spin detection coding is now completed and initial tests show very good results.

While more testing and the inevitable tweaks will be made over the coming months, I'm confident in releasing the first Beta versions now.


May 29 3:15 pm

Ball and club markings are optional

Above - GSA Golf club single strip sticker

Above - GC Quad tracking dots stickers

To the best of my knowledge, most users of camera tracking systems (like the Uneekor and GC3/GC4 etc)

that recommend applying 3 or 4 tracking dots to their clubs, don't even bother doing that.

Likewise with ball markings.

i.e. they just go ahead playing without these ball and club markings and seem to be just happy with that.

As I keep getting questions about the requirement to use ball and club markings -

I've thus pointed out on the relevant system pages that the use of club and ball markings is purely optional

and that the system is perfectly playable without such markings.

For the sole individual working on his game, applying stickers to the clubs isn't a big deal,

but if you've invited the guys over for a couple of rounds and beers, you're unlikely to want to say to them

"okay guys, here's a bunch of 50 little stickers in a bag that you have to apply to all your clubs before we can even start"


May 22 2:00 pm

Estimated Uneekor QED frame rate compared to VisTrak SCXi frame rate

The above image is composite of 2 frames of a Uneekor QED post shot video playback.

The image was taken from one of the many YouTube videos of QED post shot videos.

According to my calculations - using the distance the club traveled in between the 2 frames and scaling pixel distances to inches -

the frame rate appears to be around 790 fps in the video.

These tests were conducted on many other other videos too and all seem to correspond to the above findings.

Disclaimer:

Whether or not the Uneekor QED is really running its cameras at 790 fps cannot be conclusively verified though

and I am not intentionally implying or inferring it here.

All tests were only based on published Uneekor shot videos available on YouTube.

In comparison, the VisTrak Eagle-i and SCXi captures double the number of frames with its dual 1500 fps cameras.

i.e. the distance the club and ball move in between frames is halved.

Of interest, the frame rate of the SCXi camera at a resolution of 640 x 480 is also exactly 790 fps.

So, in case the SCXi requires a higher resolution than its current 640 x 240,

then we can use this higher resolution without losing any functionality.


 

 

 

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Recent customer comments

Hi Martin, I just wanted to drop you a note to say how amazing the new VisTrak camera is.

I am still playing around with the settings and learning but the video capture and being able to see the frame by frame impact is awesome!

I also really like the way you show the ball ready/playback buttons as an overlay on the TGC.

The best part of my day is going to the tech page and seeing your latest updates - keep up the good work!

Richard L. Illinois 12/17/2020

Hi Martin- I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your efforts.

I could have bought any of the expensive and well-known golf simulators, but I’m glad I ultimately took the chance and bought your products.

It wasn’t an easy decision, as it takes a leap of faith to take the road less traveled, but it has made all the difference.

I love that your products are not perfect (no one's are) but that you strive for perfection while pushing innovation.

You’re clearly never satisfied. As soon as you develop a new software feature, or build a new camera system, you're immediately back at it working on the next iteration.

You’re a true inventor and engineer. Almost every day I download the latest beta and see how it enhances the simulation.

It's like Christmas morning everyday.

Sometimes there’s a marked improvement. Sometimes the new feature “breaks” something else.

But over days and weeks, I feel how the collective innovations are improving the overall experience.

Your products aren’t for everyone but they are a clear alternative to the high-margin corporate products that have an arm's length association with their user base.

Buying a GSA product is buying into you and becoming part of your user community.

You listen, you care, and you explore. I know many of us appreciate it but perhaps not enough of us say thanks.

Martin, thank you for an enjoyable and rewarding journey with your products in 2020.

You’ve made a COVID 19 year more endurable.

Eric P. Burien, WA 12/25/2020

Matt P. 1/15/2021

Hello Martin, I have had 2 weeks of excellent play and stability in Eagle Mode! This has been very enjoyable! Matt T.

Matt T. 1/14/2021

Hi Martin, I see your daily updates on the Tech News page and I just want to say thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Your passion for golf and engineering clearly shows and thank you!

Mike B. 05/03/2021

Thanks Martin……..

I appreciate the excellent customer service and fair pricing! And the very informative website!

Have a great day!

Mike.

Note that all GSA Golf software is written in the C++ programming language, which isn't particularly easy.

As they say, while it's easy to shoot yourself in the foot with the standard C language,

you can blow your whole leg off in C++. : )


Martin Gardiner

Founder of GSA Golf

These days, when I'm not developing golf simulators, you'll find me in my keyboard music studio

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