NEW YORK Blending Java and biofeedback technologies, Internet Golf Multimedia Inc. (Bronx, N.Y.) has created what it calls the world's first smart golf club, which a user can link to the Internet to compete in a global golf competition.
The Genius Gold Club includes an embedded microprocessor, a speech synthesis chip, two ASICs and an RF transceiver. The transceiver provides a link to a PC or workstation. Once the system is logged onto Internet Golf Multimedia's Web site, the interactive club system allows a golf enthusiast to enjoy a game with other Genius Gold Club users, even if they are on opposite sides of the globe.
"The beauty is that Sun Microsystems' Java technology allows any Internet user to enjoy an interactive golf game with any other computer user worldwide merely by entering our golf clubhouse over the Internet," said Wilbert Murdock, founder and biofeedback expert at Internet Golf Multimedia.
The club is a genuine putter with the aforementioned circuitry and an off-the-shelf RF transceiver located in its head. When used without being linked to a computer, the smart club gives immediate feedback on a swing via the speech synthesis chip. When used with its RF computer link, the speech chip gives feedback regarding the state of the game that's underway.
"The Genius Golf Club can improve your game with immediate biofeedback even if you don't have it linked to your computer, that is, by telling you when you have hit the sweet spot," Murdock said. "It will also speak 'left' or 'right' to tell you if your stroke did not hit the sweet spot." When linked to a PC or workstation which must have a matching transceiver plugged into its serial port any number of interactive golf games can be downloaded into the club. A variety of golf games and exercises are available; some are designed to improve a golfer's game, and some are just for fun.
By logging onto Internet Golf Multimedia's Web site, a user can play interactive games with other golfers worldwide. "Ours is the first interactive golf game that uses a real golf club, instead of a joystick or mouse, so it can really improve your golf game while you are having fun. Plus you can interact with and play against other real golfers, or play against our Java-based server," said Murdock. The Java software for improving your game, which can run over the Internet or locally within a PC or workstation, shows bar graphs indicating the sweet spot and just how much to the right and left your last shot was hit.
"The beauty of golf is that no one ever truly masters it, there is always room for improvement no matter what kind of player you are, and the measurements the Genius Golf Club makes of your stroke are so precise that any player's game will immediately start improving just by using it," said Murdock. Besides the bar graphs, an animated figure on the screen replicates movements in response to signals from the golf club.