Free Sensor Sample Order Now

Surface Force Profiling

Professional golfers and instructors know that the distribution of weight and balance are key components of power in a golf swing. They realize that speed and power come from the lower body, not just the hands and the arms. However, they lacked one vital tool to help them take action to shift their body weight.

Now a golfers footwork can be monitored during a swing thanks to Tactilus. This technology analyzes the important lower-body dynamics by performing Surface Force Profiling during a golfers swing. Surface force profiling measures and maps the time-dependent forces between a golfers feet and the ground.

Tactilus is a matrix based tactile surface sensor. Essentially an electronic skin that records and interprets pressure distribution and magnitude between any two contacting or mating surfaces and assimilates that data collected into a powerful, yet user-friendly, Windows-based tool kit. Each Tactilus sensor is carefully assembled to exacting tolerances and individually calibrated and serialized. Tactilus employs sophisticated mathematical algorithms and advanced electronic shielding techniques to maximize environmental immunity to noise, temperature and humidity.

Figure 1 shows the surface force profiling of a golfers swing using the Tactilus Body Mapping Sensor System. The Tactilus sensor pad, which is underneath the green mat, instantly transmits data to the Tactilus body mapping software visible on the computer screen (shown at left). The sensor pad has up to 1,024 piezoresistive sensing locations that measure foot pressure. The spatial resolution of these sensors is 0.3 in. (7.6 mm). When the golfer swings, the foot map updates 50 times per second.

surface force profiling
Fig 1: Surface Force Profiling of a Golfers Feet the Tactilus Body Mapping Sensor System

According to Mike Malaska, Worldwide Director of Instruction for the Nicklaus Golf Academies, the Tactilus system enables golfers to easily visualize and comprehend how their weight shifts throughout each swing. Once golfers get instant feedback from the system about what their feet should do, there is a much better chance that they will make the necessary corrections, says Malaska.

Tactilus is also fully customizable for the particular needs of different applications. It is currently integrated within the sports motion analysis system of Vertex Golf, a Texas-based sports technology company. Their very sophisticated software program receives input from multiple sensors, including sound, pressure, speed, and motion and displays these measurements in sync with automatic video playback of each swing. Vertex uses special high speed video cameras that record each swing at a speed of hundreds of frames per second, producing much sharper images than conventional video cameras and enabling much more effective professional instruction or independent game-improving practice. Golfers get immediate feedback after every shot and can easily see what they are doing wrong. Figure 2 illustrates the capabilities of the Vertex Golf Motion Analysis System.

vertex golf motion analysis
Fig 2: The Vertex Golf Motion Analysis System Shows the Tactilus Surface Force Profiling, Video, Speed, and Motion Data.