The most sophisticated golf performance tracking system

David Hunter, CEO of Shot Scope Technologies, selected i4 Product Design in November of 2016 from a short list of potential product design agencies to develop their next generation golf accessory – Shot Scope V2.

After the success of their first wristband and club ID system, the Shot Scope team had identified an opportunity to launch a new and improved follow-up system that is more sophisticated with cleaner aesthetics. The challenge was to design, engineer and manufacture such as system within 8 months to be ready for the 2017 Summer season.

Background

The original Shot Scope system was comprised of a wrist worn device in combination with a twenty club tags, one tag being inserted into the top of each golf club. The Club Sense system is able to record the user the exact point on the course where the ball was played, detect which club has been and the associated shot distance.

Shot Scope GPS combines this proven tracking technology with an integrated GPS range finder system which indicates the distance to the green on each hole as well as the position of difficult obstacles.

Key Challenges

It was paramount that the Shot Scope GPS system did not inhibit the golfer’s game through bulk, comfort or appearance. To this end the main challenge throughout the project was to minimise the product size, whilst accommodating the additional size of the more advanced GPS technology used in the V2 product.

There was also the need to incorporate the antenna within one of the wrist straps in an economical and robust manner, without compromising the functionality.

The product has to be used outdoors, therefore inclusion of a sealing system was a key requirement. The challenge was how to include a seal, avoid thick wall sections, whilst allowing the antenna to enter the housing from the strap.

Finally, Shot Scope wanted to launch the product, with fully considered electronic assembly, finished injection moulded parts, within an 8 month time frame.

Our Approach

We were determined to address the challenge presented by the "antennae within a strap" challenge right from the start because if this could not be done properly the product could be compromised. The intent was always to over-mould the antenna, effectively a flexible circuit, with a soft but robust silicone however there were issues to be addressed. The flexible circuit would have to be inserted into a mould tool, held securely without warping, and withstand the tool and curing temperatures. i4’s engineers conceived a twin over-mould technique to address these concerns.

Concurrently i4 began a 3D CAD layout, not only to determine the product architecture, but developed to a level sufficient to consider wall thickness, sealing paths and how the main housing would interact with the over-moulded antenna. Consideration was also given to wrist sizes, both for men and women, which influenced how the straps exited the main housing.

Whilst the product architecture was being developed, the i4 team were able to develop a series of appearance design options. The inclusion of a graphical screen and additional ‘mode’ button would give this product a different appearance over the initial Shot Scope, but i4 wanted to work within the spatial constraints to develop a product that would be both appealing and fit for purpose

The Design

Whilst the product architecture was being developed, i4 were able to develop a series of appearance design options. The inclusion of a graphical screen and additional ‘mode’ button would give this product a different appearance over the initial Shot Scope, but i4 wanted to work within the spatial constraints to develop a product that would be both appealing and fit for purpose.

The appearance design was developed within the size constraints of the new PCB, into a form with features which streamline from the main housing down to the strap. Clever use of gloss, matt and textured areas are employed to underline the professional Shot Scope marketing message.

Prototyping

Heavy use was made of our internal 3D printer throughout the project to initially check construction strategy, size and comfort on the wrist (small ladies to larger men). Thereafter the models were used to fine tune the appearance design to the team's satisfaction.

Tooling & Manufacturing Support

Right at the beginning of the project i4 identified a vendor capable of completing the over-moulding of the antenna within the strap. This collaboration allowed us to further develop the twin over-mould strategy. The vendor did comment that the approach was new to them, but were supportive throughout a prototype/early production phase.

As per our normal practice formal reports were generated at key stages to record and guide the parts to golden sample.

i4 became involved with Shot Scope’s preferred assembly house at an early stage in the product design stage, which meant that there were no surprises waiting in the wings!

The Result

Regular review meetings were held between the i4 and Shot Scope design teams, to ensure that decisions were made promptly, and that the electronic elements were being developed in concert with the enclosure design. There was a great deal of back and forth to determine the optimum flexible connection routing, with an eye on final assembly and space saving. It was a thoroughly enjoyable project and it is no exaggeration to say that the two teams worked efficiently as one to deliver the project within the tight timeline and budget.

The team at Shot Scope were impressed by the professional investigation and design approach applied by i4. The team at i4 invested a lot of time and effort understanding the product requirements and constraints. This extra effort at the start helped the project run smoothly and meet challenging timelines.

i4 have the knowledge, skills and experience to take a product from concept through to volume manufacturing. Their background was essential during development of the Shot Scope V2 product. The team at i4 worked in parallel with the Shot Scope electronics designers to ensure a commercial product that could be manufactured in volume was produced.

I was very impressed by the commitment and attention to detail of the engineering team at i4. This combined with excellent project management guaranteed a good solution delivered on time.

David Hunter, CEO of Shot Scope Ltd.

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