Relearning an old sport, or starting a new one, can be challenging for amputees. Besides the obvious physical aspects, custom prosthetics or adaptors might need to be made and fitted, which can be very expensive. With the power of 3D printing and some machining, [Ian Davis] was able to build a custom prosthetic golf club to get a quadruple amputee back on the greens.
The recipient of this prosthetic lost both hands above the wrists, so [Ian] had to come up with a mechanism that could hold the club and mimic wrist motion throughout the swing. He was able to achieve this motion with a simple four-plate hinge for each arm. For optimal ergonomics, [Ian] also added two-axis adjustability, with only a single bolt needing to be loosened per axis. A standard golf club can be used and is clamped in the printed holders.
Machined prosthetic sockets were used to allow quick connection to the user’s existing prosthetic forearms. Theoretically, this should also allow him to switch clubs without excessive hassle. [Ian], an amputee himself, has used his engineering skills to build a series of prosthetic hands and even a custom controller mod to get back to gaming with fewer flesh fingers.
Golf is a sport that has always enjoyed a good gadget or eight. Whether it’s something to measure the wind, or the latest putter guaranteed to save your game, golf enthusiasts have always flocked to such toys. [Nick O’Hara] has something that might just be a little too exciting for the golf set, though, in the form of his golf club launcher.
The golf club launcher essentially takes the role of a normal golf bag, with a rotating magazine containing all the necessary clubs for a day out on the green. The magazine is rotated into position on request, and the required club is launched out towards the player thanks to a pneumatic cylinder fired at 120 psi. A compressor in the base keeps the system charged with air for repeated launches.
The launcher even has a voice assistant built in. Telling the caddy the distance to the hole, and variables like wind and elevation, allows the device to select the right club for the conditions before blasting it towards the player.
Golf can be a frustrating game to learn: it takes countless hours of practice to get anywhere near the perfect swing. While some might be lucky enough to have a pro handy every time they’re on the driving range or putting green, most of us will have to get by with watching the ball’s motion and using that to figure out what we’re doing wrong.
Luckily, technology is here to help: [Nick Bild]’s Golf Ace is a putter that uses machine learning to analyze your swing. An accelerometer mounted on the shaft senses the exact motion of the club and uses a machine learning algorithm to see how closely it matches a professional’s swing. An LED mounted on the club’s head turns green if your stroke was good, and red if it wasn’t. All of this is driven by an Arduino Nano 33 IoT and powered by a lithium-ion battery.
The Golf Ace doesn’t tell you what part of your swing to improve, so you’d still need some external instruction to help you get closer to the ideal form; [Nick]’s suggestion is to bundle an instructor’s swing data with a book or video that explains the important points. That certainly looks like a reasonable approach to us, and we can also imagine a similar setup to be used on woods and irons, although that would require a more robust mounting system.
In any case, the Golf Ace could very well be a useful addition to the many gadgets that try to improve your game. But in case you still end up frustrated, you might want to try this automated robotic golf club.
We’ve just come across [Bithead]’s amazing, robotically-automated mashup of miniature golf and Connect Four, which also includes an AI opponent who pulls no punches in its drive to win. Connect Fore! celebrates Scotland — the birthplace of golf, after all — and looks absolutely fantastic.
The way it works is this: players take turns putting colored balls into one of seven different holes at the far end of the table. Each hole feeds to a clear tube — visible in the middle of the table — which represent each of the columns in a game of Connect Four.
Each player attempts to stack balls in such a way that they create an unbroken line of four in their color, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. In a one-player game, a human player faces off against “Scotty”, the computer program that chooses its moves with intelligence and fires balls from a robotic turret.
[Bithead] started this project as a learning experience, and being such a complex project, the write-up is extensive. We really recommend reading through the whole thing if you are at all interested in what goes into making such a project work.
What’s particularly interesting is all of the ways in which things nearly worked, or needed nudging or fine adjustment. One might think that reliably getting a ball to enter a hole and roll down a PVC tube wouldn’t be a particularly finicky task, but it turns out that all kinds of things can go wrong.
Even finding the right play surface was a challenge. [Bithead]’s first purchase from Amazon was a total waste: it looked bad, smelled bad, and balls didn’t roll well on it. There are high-quality artificial turfs out there, but the good stuff gets shockingly expensive, and such a small project pretty much pigeonholes one as a nuisance customer when it comes to vendors. The challenges [Bithead] overcame serve as a reminder to keep the 80/20 rule (or Pareto principle) in mind when estimating what will get a project to the finish line.
Right under the page break below is a brief video tour of the completed table, and after that, you can watch a game in action as [Bithead] faces off against Scotty the AI. Curious about the inner workings? The last video has some build details that fill in a few blanks from the write-up.
Golf can be incredibly frustrating even for the well practiced player, and probably one of the leading causes for swearing on Saturday mornings. In effort to solve this global problem [Shane Wighton], is creating the ultimate cheat devicerobotic golf club, that can eliminate all the clubs in one, and adjust for the desired distance mid-swing.
Different golf clubs are mostly defined by their loft angle, or the angle at which the club face is designed to strike the ball in relation to the ground, with the purpose of changing the takeoff angle and therefor the distance traveled. To eliminate the need for different clubs, [Shane] made a head for which the loft angle can be set using a rotary encoder and display on the shaft. However building a tilting a mechanism that can survive the ±4000 lbs of force generated during impact requires some clever engineering. The first iteration was a rather impressive hydraulic design, but it required a large hydraulic power source and the pressure waves generated in the system caused the pistons in the head to blow out every time. The second iteration uses a hobby servo with a combination of machined and SLA printed parts, but in such a way that no force is transmitted to the servo at impact, similar to how a lead screw works. [Shane] actually managed to play a full 18 holes with no problems.
The second feature on the club is to adjust the loft angle mid-swing for the speed of the club to hit the ball a specified distance. A high precision IMU is used to measure the speed and angle of the club. The servo can’t move instantaneously, so it has to predict the impact velocity based on past data. Unfortunately no two swings are ever exactly the same, which introduces some error into the system. Continue reading “A Robotic Golf Club To (Possibly) Boost Your Game”→
When you think of sports, you usually think of something that takes a lot of physical effort. Golf is a bit different. Sure, you can get some walking in if you don’t take a cart. But mostly golfing is about coordination and skill and less about physical exertion. Until you want to practice driving. You hit a bucket of balls and then you have to go walk around and pick them up. Unless you have help, of course. In particular, you can delegate the task to a robot.
The robot that [webzuweb] built looks a little like a plywood robot vacuum. However, instead of suction, it uses some plywood disks to lift the balls and deposit them in a hopper. The electronics consist of an Arduino and an Orange Pi Lite. A GPS tells the robot where it is and it develops a search pattern based on its location.
The Floating 14th is pretty spectacular as far as golf holes go. With a green located on an island about a hundred yards offshore of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho, there’s little room for error – after all, it’s surrounded by a 49 square mile water trap. [TVMiller]’s replica green recreates the target quite accurately, although we doubt the Jolly Wrencher flag is regulation for championship play. But the best part is the motorized platform and smartphone app that can be used to send the mini green out as far as you feel like practicing. Sure, it could be a tad more realistic if the replica green actually floated, but asphalt fairways are a little easier to come by than Olympic-sized swimming pools.