Cyth Seamlessly Synchronizes 10 High Speed Cameras to Improve Golfer Performance
Ironically, the object of golf is to play the least amount of golf.
As a golfer's game improves they're able to hit a small ball into a seemingly smaller hole in fewer strokes. Whether this golfer has been playing for 15 years or 15 days, the quickest way to improve is by making continued revisions to the stroke's technique.
Tucked away in north county San Diego is a prominent R&D facility for high-end ironwoods. At this facility, the company performs club fittings and video recordings of golfer's swings. Cyth was brought on by a partner who had been selling cameras to this ironwood manufacture for some time. Cyth was tasked with the acquisition of the video recording and the playback of the recording as well. Additionally, the client needed the functionality to draw on the frames of the playback to annotate or show a movement of a player to improve their swing.
This was a repeat system but a major difference between the previous system and this one was upgrading a majority of the cameras to a higher resolution. The largest issue on the previous project, which was the same challenge on this rendition, was the synchronization between all the cameras. Added to this project, which was different to the previous, was a pressure mapping mat. This was added so that when a golfer swings and their weight distribution changes on their feet, the client would be able to see that synchronized with the video. That synchronization, between the pressure mapping mat and the cameras, was the hardest challenge to overcoming. This was due to the difference in frame rates and because Cyth had to handle the frame rate acquisition for the "body track" (the weight distribution mat) and the cameras which handled the frame rate themselves.
There was a total of 10 cameras, all synchronized together, for the client's system. Four of the cameras were high resolution (greater than whats considered "HD", so roughly 2,000 x 1,000 pixels) that recorded at 50 frames per second. The other six cameras were high-speed cameras. Previously, the six cameras were 640 x 480 pixels at 200 frames per second. After completing the revised systems the cameras were upgraded to 800 x 600 pixels at 200 frames per second. The weight distribution mat was 2 feet x 3 feet and would output date over USB, which Cyth had to capture. Lastly, all the software was written in LabVIEW 2016.
The facility was set up in such a way that a golfer would hit a ball down a long dark driving range with lights shining from the right and left side. Before the golfer began, he or she would fill out relative information about their body height and weight, club, and whether they were right or left handed. Their information would be saved alongside other golfer information dating back several years. This was extremely valuable because the instructor would be able to select past recorders to demonstrate different aspects of the golfers swing using a scrubber bar and the synchronization of all 10 cameras. From this, the instructor could mark all over the screen showing where the ball began to curve, the rotation of the ball, the flight path, the golfer's form, and things of that nature. As the system was being built, the client began asking for more ways to analyze the videos. Cyth responded by adding additional drawing tools, file management, and a new look and feel to the software. They wanted the software to look like an application designed specifically for their company instead of some generic bench-top piece of software. To achieve this they had an internal graphics design team create custom buttons for the new GUI. After all the customizations to the GUI had been made, it didn't look like it was made in LabVIEW at all and the client was very pleased with how it looked. Since the upgrade of the system, Cyth is now tasked with making 4 more - one for the UK, one for Japan, and two more for California.
Overall the project was under budget and a lot was learned and refined in regards to high speed camera acquisition. Not only did Cyth excel in handling the advanced video recording, playback, and custom manipulation of selected frames, they were also able to accommodate changing client desires as the system was being built. Whether it's synchronizing 2 or 20 cameras, Cyth is the go-to experts on all things vision!