When mini golf meets computer engineering - the scorecard of the future
We got our Photon, the WiFi enable micro controller, up and running!
This is the inner mechanism of the ball, with the photon, acceleromoter, and PSU inside. This goes in the coconut.
We needed to get the coconut meat out of the shell so we could use the shell for the golfball, and use the coconut for lunch a topping!
Jack may have gotten a hold of some of the coconut early, and doesn't want to share it...
The coconut is finally done, and fits the akward shape hardware case. Yay for a perfect fit!
We got the acceleromoter up and running, and we used an lcd to help us prototype the code.
Finished product is ready to go!
Our inspiration and our goal
With over 130 million people playing mini golf every year, it comes as no surprise that it is a billion dollar industry. This low liability and beginner friendly sport has not had any major changes in over a decade, until now. Lime's goal is to ease the scoring aspect of the game without taking away from the simple nature of mini golf.
What it does
With an embedded system in a standard golf ball, Lime can quickly and accurately keep track of your score in mini golf. This allows you to concentrate more on playing the game and having fun with friends, without getting distracted by logistics.
Lime is a mini golf scoring app. It includes both a web app and a golf ball. The golf ball connect to the web app via a WiFi connection. Inside the ball we also have an accelerometer. All of the math is done in the ball to determine weather or not a hit has been made. After we recognize a hit, a request is sent to out web app where we turn that into a stroke on the scorecard. Our network of mini golf hardware allows for maximum enjoyment out of the game!
Our Origin Story
Lime is the first ever attempt at making a complete crossover of mini golf and automated scoring. Our team started by looking for a frustrating problem we all had encountered. When we reached sports, we all quickly agreed that we hated having to keep track of our scores in mini golf by hand. Mini golf, by definition, exists for enjoyment and camaraderie more than competition. So why ruin it with constant, manual score keeping? Lime fills this long lasting gap.
How we built it, our challenges, and our triumph story
We quickly split in to two main groups. The hardware group, Jack and Matt, immediately started conceptualizing the build of the golf ball prototype. They knew they were going to use an accelerometer to keep track of the ball's movement. They also knew they needed a spherical enclosure to simulate a golf ball. They left T-REX and searched for supplies.
While this was going on, the software team, Jay and Noah, began to design the back and front ends of Lime. Jay quickly set up a Socket.IO server on Amazon Web Services for multiple clients to be on the app concurrently. Noah got to work on designing the layout of the website and overall UX.
While Jack and Matt were searching, they came across a somewhat spherical plastic enclosure and a slightly larger coconut. They figured the team could put the hardware in the plastic case, then put that in the hollowed out coconut. Note: In production, we would manufacture the hardware much smaller so it could actually fit in a golf ball. However, since we had larger components, we settled on a coconut for the prototype. We are very confident the components can be shrunk down to fit in a golf ball because we have a lot of extra pins and ports on our breadboard we put in our prototype. Meanwhile, Jay kept flying through the web application development
Jack, Matt, and Noah quickly got to work breaking the coconut open and carving it out. Afterwards, Jack and Matt started implementing the accelerometer and Noah got back to work on the UX. Shortly after, Noah and Jay came together and completed the web app.
After the golf ball prototype was complete and the web app production was running smoothly, the team was tasked with interpreting signals from the Particle Photon, through WiFi, in the server and converting them to a score counter.
After completing this, Jay had out site interpret all of the data. Noah made sure it was displayed a simple and elegant way. And with this final addition, Lime was complete and ready to demo!
What we learned
From this project, our team learned how important it is the the hardware team and software team work with each other at all times. The team was able to succeed because of the collaboration skills we quickly built and maintained.
We also learned the importance of precision with networking between hardware and software. We needed the Particle Photon to send certain signals and the server to pick up those signals, interpret them in a certain way to compute a score, then display the score beautifully.
Overall, we learned that there is a future in automated sports scoring as a whole. Throughout building Lime, we were consistently surprised with how much of what we were building could be applied to a multitude of other sports.
What's next for Lime
The next step for Lime is to move forward with a finalized product that can be used at any mini golf course. This means stronger materials, a smaller/more compact design to fit a standard golf ball, and a cheap manufacturing process. The team also wants to develop a mobile app to help ease the connection between the ball and the player's phone to make the whole experience more enjoyable! All in all, Lime wants to make the mini golf experience more enjoyable for everyone!