Wedge Watcher was ultimately designed because of the convenience and loss prevention that is provided with this technologically advanced system. The Wedge Watcher plays on the idea of the pitching wedge being the most commonly lost or forgotten golf club. This is largely due to the fact of the ease of removing both the putter and the wedge to finish some holes. As the player completes his shot with his wedge, instead of returning it to the cart, commonly he places it down or against a tree and returns to the green with his putter to complete his hole. After making his final putt the golfer, not always focused on his clubs, tends to forget his wedge on the course as he commences to the next hole. With our system, we utilize RFID technology to keep track of club insertions and removals with polling in 30-second intervals. The system implements an algorithm that uses the RFID reader data to determine when a club is misplaced or forgotten. The system then produces an audible alarm that alerts the golfer to return to the previous hole or spot to retrieve his otherwise lost club before it is too late. We believe that this system can help to reduce lost golf clubs by an exponential amount and thus being very cost effective.
3D Conceptual Rendering of the Module
RFID technology in its recognizable form today, first began in 1973 with the first patents being issued for an active tag system with rewriteable memory and a passive tag transponder that was used to unlock a door provided the correct access code was read. These simple beginnings, lead to our main two choices in our project, first on tags whether active or passive, and second our choice of the three different frequencies. After preliminary research of active tags, which consist of a battery, the team deemed them too big to be applicable to attach directly to a golf club without effecting play. Passive tags then became our main choice because of their small inlays that draw energy from the reader and reflect back a signal using backscatter. Frequency became our next choice given our predetermined requirement of a medium read range of 30cm, anti-collision properties, and whether the tags can be distinguishable simultaneously on a metal golf shaft. We had three choices, each with different assets; low frequency, high frequency, and ultra-high frequency. Low frequency (125k - 134k Hz) is less subject to interference but couldn’t provide the range needed for our project. High frequency (13.56M Hz) could provide the range we needed but with an antenna that could not fit our application. This led us to our choice of Ultra High Frequency (865M – 960M Hz) because it not only provided extended range to combat the interference of other golf clubs inside the bag, but also could be paired with small inlay tags that will be mounted onto the club shaft. The Skytek M10 was then chosen, being it provided the needed range of up to 5 meters and the anti-collision properties that allows the reader to see up to 50 tags per second. Using our development kit for the M10 we will program our module to perform the Wedge Watcher algorithm that upon creation of the Wedge Watcher system will ultimately save time, money, and most importantly the hassle of lost golf clubs on the course.
M10 Reader with Antenna and Tags
Wedge Watcher Finished Product