Canadian Patents Database / Patent 3006829 Summary

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(12) Patent Application: (11) CA 3006829
(54) English Title: CURLING ROCKS, HANDLES, AND SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR TRACKING PLAY OBJECTS
(54) French Title: PIERRES DE CURLING, POIGNEES, ET SYSTEMES ET METHODES DE SUIVI DES OBJETS EN JEU
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • G01D 21/02 (2006.01)
  • A63B 67/14 (2006.01)
  • A63B 71/06 (2006.01)
  • G01S 13/74 (2006.01)
  • G01S 15/74 (2006.01)
  • G01S 17/74 (2006.01)
  • G07C 1/22 (2006.01)
  • G01N 19/02 (2006.01)
  • G01P 3/64 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • GUILLEMETTE, JONATHAN (Canada)
  • CAVANAGH, MARTIN (Canada)
(73) Owners :
  • INTELLISPORTS INC. (Canada)
(71) Applicants :
  • INTELLISPORTS INC. (Canada)
(74) Agent: NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., S.R.L.
(74) Associate agent: NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., S.R.L.
(45) Issued:
(22) Filed Date: 2018-05-30
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2018-11-30
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
62/512,957 United States of America 2017-05-31
62/560,828 United States of America 2017-09-20

English Abstract


Systems, curling rocks, curling rock handles, and methods for tracking a
curling rock or
other play object are disclosed. The curling rock or play object has a data-
collecting unit
operable during movement to measure acceleration values, rotation values,
time, or
other parameters of the play object. A processor of the data-collecting unit
wirelessly
transmits one or more of these parameters, which are data indicative of player

performance. Fields of play, such as a curling sheet, have devices which are
activated
by the play object during movement thereof. Each device upon being activated
wirelessly emits an information signal indicative of at least a position of
the device with
respect to the field of play.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CLAIMS:
1. A system for tracking a curling rock on a curling sheet, comprising:
at least one device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be aligned with
a
line of play of the curling sheet, the at least one device comprising a
position
transceiver operable to emit an activation signal upon the curling rock
crossing
the line of play; and
a data-collecting unit mountable to the curling rock and being operable during

at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting unit comprising:
an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the
curling rock along at least one translational degree of freedom;
a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling rock
about at least one rotational degree of freedom;
a processor in communication with the position transceiver, the
accelerometer unit, and the gyroscope unit, to obtain the acceleration
values from the accelerometer unit, the rotation values from the
gyroscope unit, and the activation signal from the position transceiver,
the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit the acceleration
values and the rotation values, the processor being operable to
wirelessly transmit data indicative of player performance upon receiving
the activation signal; and
a power source supplying electrical power to at least the
accelerometer unit, the gyroscope unit, and the processor.
2. The system as defined in claim 1, wherein the at least one device is
attachable
underneath a surface of the curling sheet.
3. The system as defined in claim 1, wherein the at least one device is
removably
mountable adjacent to a surface of the curling sheet and above the surface of
the
ice sheet.
29

4. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the processor
has a
transmitting unit to actively emit a signal, and the position transceiver has
a
dormant default state and is only activated by the signal emitted by the
processor.
5. The system as defined in claim 4, wherein the at least one device is free
of a power
source.
6. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the processor
includes
an identification transceiver being operable to emit an identification signal
comprising information on a player using the curling rock.
7. The system as defined in claim 6, wherein the identification signal
includes at least
one of a name of the player, a number of the player, a team of the player, a
sex of
the player, and an age of the player.
8. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the activation
signal
includes at least one of the following: a time at which the curling rock
crossed the
line of play, an identification of the line of play, and a position coordinate
of the at
least one device on the curling sheet.
9. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the activation
signal
emitted by the position transceiver of the device includes at least a time at
which
the curling rock crossed the line of play, the data indicative of player
performance
emitted by the processor upon receiving the activation signal being the time
at
which the curling rock crossed the line of play.
10. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the at least
one device
includes a first device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be aligned
with a
first line of play, and a second device fixedly attachable to the curling
sheet to be
aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the first line of play
along the
curling sheet, the activation signal emitted by the position transceiver of
each of the
first and second devices including at least a time at which the curling rock
crossed
said line of play, the data indicative of player performance emitted by the
processor
upon receiving the activation signals being a duration of time taken by the
curling
rock to cross between the first and second lines of play.

11. The system as defined in claim 10, wherein the first line of play is a
back line of the
curling sheet, and the second line of play is a hog line of the curling sheet,
the
duration of time being a split time.
12. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the data
indicative of
player performance emitted by the processor is the rotation values of the
curling
rock when it crossed the line of play.
13. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the data
indicative of
player performance emitted by the processor is the acceleration values of the
curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
14. The system as defined in claim 13, wherein the processor is operable to
wirelessly
transmit a coefficient of friction of the curling sheet calculated as a
function of the
acceleration values.
15. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the data
indicative of
player performance emitted by the processor is at least one of a direction of
travel
of the curling rock when it crossed the line of play and an angle of release
of the
curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
16. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the at least
one device
includes a first device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be aligned
with a
first line of play, and a second device fixedly attachable to the curling
sheet to be
aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the first line of play
along the
curling sheet, the activation signal emitted by the position transceiver of
each of the
first and second devices including at least a position coordinate of the first
or
second device on the curling sheet and a time at which the curling rock
crossed
said line of play, the data indicative of player performance emitted by the
processor
upon receiving the activation signals being a velocity of the curling rock
between
the first and second lines of play.
17. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein the power
source
includes a non-contact rechargeable circuit, the rechargeable circuit being
operable
to charge the power source via induction.
31

18. The system as defined in any one of claims 1 to 17, wherein the data-
collecting unit
includes a temperature sensor to measure temperature values of an environment
surrounding the curling rock, and a humidity sensor to measure humidity values
of
the environment surrounding the curling rock.
19. A system for tracking a curling rock on a curling sheet, comprising:
at least one device attachable to the curling sheet to be aligned with a line
of
play of the curling sheet, the at least one device comprising a position
transceiver operable to emit an activation signal upon the curling rock
crossing
the line of play; and
a data-collecting unit mountable to the curling rock and being operable during

at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting unit comprising:
a processor in communication with the position transceiver to
receive the activation signal therefrom and to wirelessly transmit a time
signal indicative of a time when the curling rock crossed the line of play;
and
a power source supplying electrical power to at least the
processor.
20. The system as defined in claim 19, wherein the at least one device is
attachable
underneath a surface of the curling sheet.
21. The system as defined in claim 19, wherein the at least one device is
removably
mountable adjacent to a surface of the curling sheet and above the surface of
the
ice sheet.
22. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 22, wherein the processor
has a
transmitting unit to actively emit a signal, and the position transceiver has
a
dormant default state and is only activated by the signal emitted by the
processor.
23. The system as defined in claim 22, wherein the at least one device is free
of a
power source.
32

24. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 23, wherein the processor

includes an identification transceiver being operable to emit an
identification signal
comprising information on a player using the curling rock.
25. The system as defined in claim 24, wherein the identification signal
includes at
least one of a name of the player, a number of the player, a team of the
player, a
sex of the player, and an age of the player.
26. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 25, wherein the
activation signal
includes at least one of the following: the time at which the curling rock
crossed the
line of play, an identification of the line of play, and a position coordinate
of the at
least one device on the curling sheet.
27. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 26, wherein the at least
one
device includes a first device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be
aligned
with a first line of play, and a second device fixedly attachable to the
curling sheet
to be aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the first line of
play along
the curling sheet, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit a
duration of
time taken by the curling rock to cross between the first and second lines of
play.
28. The system as defined in claim 27, wherein the first line of play is a
back line of the
curling sheet, and the second line of play is a hog line of the curling sheet,
the
duration of time being a split time.
29. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 28, wherein the at least
one
device includes a first device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be
aligned
with a first line of play, and a second device fixedly attachable to the
curling sheet
to be aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the first line of
play along
the curling sheet, the activation signal emitted by the position transceiver
of each of
the first and second devices including at least a position coordinate of the
first or
second device on the curling sheet and the time at which the curling rock
crossed
said line of play, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit a
velocity of
the curling rock between the first and second lines of play.
33

30. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 29, wherein the power
source
includes a non-contact rechargeable circuit, the rechargeable circuit being
operable
to charge the power source via induction.
31. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 30, wherein the data-
collecting
unit includes a temperature sensor to measure temperature values of an
environment surrounding the curling rock, and a humidity sensor to measure
humidity values of the environment surrounding the curling rock.
32. The system as defined in any one of claims 19 to 31, wherein the data-
collecting
unit includes at least one of an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration
values
of the curling rock along at least one translational degree of freedom, and a
gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling rock about at least
one
rotational degree of freedom.
33. A curling rock, comprising:
a rock body;
a handle attached to the rock body; and
a data-collecting unit fixedly mounted to one of the rock body and the handle,

the data-collecting unit being operable during at least movement of the
curling
rock, the data-collecting unit comprising:
an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the
curling rock along at least one translational degree of freedom;
a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling rock
about at least one rotational degree of freedom;
an identification transceiver being operable to emit an
identification signal comprising information on a player using the curling
rock;
a processor in communication with the identification transceiver,
the accelerometer unit, and the gyroscope unit, to obtain the acceleration
values from the accelerometer unit, the rotation values from the
34

gyroscope unit, and the identification signal from the identification
transceiver, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit the
acceleration values, the rotation values, and the identification signal; and
a power source supplying electrical power to at least the
accelerometer unit, the gyroscope unit, and the processor.
34. The curling rock as defined in claim 33, wherein the data-collecting unit
includes a
temperature sensor to measure temperature values of an environment surrounding

the curling rock, and a humidity sensor to measure humidity values of the
environment surrounding the curling rock.
35. The curling rock as defined in claim 33 or 34, wherein the identification
signal
includes at least one of a name of the player, a number of the player, a team
of the
player, a sex of the player, and an age of the player.
36. The curling rock as defined in any one of claims 33 to 35, wherein the
processor is
operable to not analyse the acceleration and rotation values.
37. The curling rock as defined in any one of claims 33 to 36, wherein the
power
source includes a non-contact rechargeable circuit, the rechargeable circuit
being
operable to charge the power source via induction.
38. A curling rock handle, comprising:
a handle body including a grip portion and a mounting portion, the mounting
portion being mountable to a curling rock; and
a data-collecting unit fixedly mounted to one of the grip portion and the
mounting portion of the handle, the data-collecting unit being operable during
at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting unit comprising:
an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the
curling rock along at least one translational degree of freedom;
a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling rock
about at least one rotational degree of freedom;

an identification transceiver being operable to emit an
identification signal comprising information on a player using the curling
rock handle;
a processor in communication with the identification transceiver,
the accelerometer unit, and the gyroscope unit, to obtain the acceleration
values from the accelerometer unit, the rotation values from the
gyroscope unit, and the identification signal from the identification
transceiver, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit the
acceleration values, the rotation values, and the identification signal; and
a power source supplying electrical power to at least the
accelerometer unit, the gyroscope unit, and the processor.
39. The curling rock handle as defined in claim 38, wherein the data-
collecting unit
includes a temperature sensor to measure temperature values of an environment
surrounding the curling rock, and a humidity sensor to measure humidity values
of
the environment surrounding the curling rock.
40. The curling rock handle as defined in claim 38 or 39, wherein the
identification
signal includes at least one of a name of the player, a number of the player,
a team
of the player, a sex of the player, and an age of the player.
41. The curling rock handle as defined in any one of claims 38 to 40, wherein
the
processor is operable to not analyse the acceleration and rotation values.
42. The curling rock handle as defined in any one of claims 38 to 41, wherein
the
power source includes a non-contact rechargeable circuit, the rechargeable
circuit
being operable to charge the power source via induction.
43. A method for collecting data about a curling rock displaceable along a
curling
sheet, comprising:
measuring acceleration values of the curling rock about at least one
translational degree of freedom during displacement along the curling sheet;
36

measuring rotation values of the curling rock about at least one rotational
degree of freedom during displacement along the curling sheet; and
wirelessly transmitting the acceleration and rotation values from the curling
rock upon the curling rock crossing a line of play of the curling sheet.
44. The method as defined in claim 43, wherein measuring the acceleration
values and
measuring the rotation values includes measuring the acceleration and rotation

values using a data-collecting unit mounted to the curling rock.
45. The method as defined in claim 43 or 44, further comprising measuring at
least one
of a temperature and a humidity at separate locations on the curling sheet.
46. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 45, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly
transmitting an
identification signal comprising information on a player using the curling
rock, the
identification signal including at least one of a name of the player, a number
of the
player, a team of the player, a sex of the player, and an age of the player.
47. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 46, further comprising
measuring
at least one of the following: a time at which the curling rock crossed the
line of
play, an identification of the line of play, and a position coordinate of the
at least
one device on the curling sheet.
48. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 47, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly
transmitting
rotation values upon the curling rock crossing the line of play.
49. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 48, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly
transmitting a
coefficient of friction of the curling sheet calculated as a function of the
acceleration
values.
37

50. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 49, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly
transmitting a
direction of travel of the curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
51. The method as defined in any one of claims 43 to 50, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly
transmitting the
acceleration and rotation values includes to a remote device, server, or
processor.
52. A curling performance system, comprising:
a data-collecting unit mountable to a curling rock and being operable during
at least
movement of the curling rock along a curling sheet, the data-collecting unit
comprising:
an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the curling rock
along at least one translational degree of freedom;
a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling rock about at
least one rotational degree of freedom;
a processor in communication with the accelerometer unit and the
gyroscope unit to obtain the acceleration values from the accelerometer unit
and
the rotation values from the gyroscope unit, the processor being operable to
wirelessly transmit at least the acceleration values and the rotation values;
and
a power source supplying electrical power to at least the accelerometer
unit, the gyroscope unit, and the processor; and
a performance unit mountable to a curling broom, the performance unit having a

display and a performance processor in communication with the processor of the

data-collecting unit, the performance unit including at least one application
stored in
a memory of the performance processor and executable thereby to:
receive the acceleration and rotation values from the processor of the
data-collecting unit;
38

analyse at least one of the acceleration values and the rotation values along
at least one of the translational and rotational degrees of freedom, and
generate
data indicative of player performance; and
output the data indicative of player performance to the display.
53. The curling performance system as defined in claim 52, wherein the
processor
includes an identification transceiver being operable to emit an
identification signal
comprising information on a player using the curling rock.
54. The curling performance system as defined in claim 53, wherein the
identification
signal includes at least one of a name of the player, a number of the player,
a team
of the player, a sex of the player, and an age of the player.
55. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 52 to 54,
further
comprising at least one device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be
aligned
with a line of play of the curling sheet, the at least one device comprising a
position
transceiver operable to emit an activation signal upon the curling rock
crossing the
line of play, the activation signal including at least one of the following: a
time at
which the curling rock crossed the line of play, an identification of the line
of play,
and a position coordinate of the at least one device on the curling sheet.
56. The curling performance system as defined in claim 55, wherein the
performance
processor is in communication with the position transceiver of the at least
one
device, the at least one application stored in the memory of the performance
processor being executable to receive the activation signal from the position
transceiver, the data indicative of player performance outputted to the
display being
the time at which the curling rock crossed the line of play.
57. The curling performance system as defined in claim 55, wherein the at
least one
device includes a first device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet to be
aligned
with a first line of play, and a second device fixedly attachable to the
curling sheet
to be aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the first line of
play along
the curling sheet, the data indicative of player performance outputted to the
display
39

being a duration of time taken by the curling rock to cross between the first
and
second lines of play.
58. The curling performance system as defined in claim 57, wherein the first
line of play
is a back line of the curling sheet, and the second line of play is a hog line
of the
curling sheet, the duration of time being a split time.
59. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 55 to 58,
wherein
the data indicative of player performance outputted to the display is the
rotation
values of the curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
60. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 55 to 59,
wherein
the data indicative of player performance outputted to the display is the
acceleration values of the curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
61. The curling performance system as defined in claim 60, wherein the at
least one
application stored in the memory of the performance processor is executable to

analyse the acceleration values and generate a coefficient of friction of the
curling
sheet.
62. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 55 to 61,
wherein
the data indicative of player performance outputted to the display is a
direction of
travel of the curling rock when it crossed the line of play.
63. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 55 to 62,
wherein
the at least one device includes a first device fixedly attachable to the
curling sheet
to be aligned with a first line of play, and a second device fixedly
attachable to the
curling sheet to be aligned with a second line of play spaced apart from the
first line
of play along the curling sheet, the activation signal emitted by the position

transceiver of each of the first and second devices including the position
coordinate
of the first and second device on the curling sheet and the time at which the
curling
rock crossed said line of play, the data indicative of player performance
outputted
to the display being a velocity of the curling rock between the first and
second lines
of play.

64. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 52 to 63,
wherein
the power source includes a non-contact rechargeable circuit, the rechargeable

circuit being operable to charge the power source via induction.
65. The curling performance system as defined in any one of claims 52 to 64,
wherein
the data-collecting unit includes a temperature sensor to measure temperature
values of an environment surrounding the curling rock, and a humidity sensor
to
measure humidity values of the environment surrounding the curling rock.
66. A method for collecting data about a curling rock displaceable along a
curling
sheet, comprising:
tracking when the curling rock crosses a first line of play of the curling
sheet;
tracking when the curling rock crosses a second line of play of the curling
sheet;
determining at least a difference in time between when the curling rock
crosses the
first line and play and the second line of play; and
wirelessly transmitting the difference in time from the curling rock; and
receiving a wireless transmission of the difference in time from the curling
rock to
alert a player of the difference in time.
67. The method as defined in claim 66, wherein the first line of play is a
back line of the
curling sheet, and the second line of play is a hog line of the curling sheet,
the
difference in time being a split time.
68. The method as defined in claim 66 or 67, wherein determining at least the
difference in time includes determining a velocity of the curling rock between
the
first and second lines of play.
69. The method as defined in any one of claims 66 to 68, wherein receiving the

wireless transmission of the difference in time includes alerting the player
with an
audio alert, a visual alert, or an audiovisual alert.
41

70. The method as defined in any one of claims 66 to 69, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the difference in time from the curling rock includes wirelessly
transmitting the difference in time to a display on a curling broom.
71. A method for communicating between a curling rock and a curling broom, the

method comprising:
measuring acceleration values of the curling rock about at least one
translational
degree of freedom;
measuring rotation values of the curling rock about at least one rotational
degree of
freedom; and
wirelessly transmitting at least the acceleration and rotation values from the
curling
rock to the curling broom upon the curling rock crossing a line of play of the
curling
sheet, to display at least one of the acceleration and rotation values on the
curling
broom.
72. The method as defined in claim 71, further comprising measuring at least
one of
the following: a time at which the curling rock crossed the line of play, an
identification of the line of play, and a position coordinate of the line of
play.
73. The method as defined in claim 72, wherein wirelessly transmitting at
least the
acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly transmitting the time at
which
the curling rock crossed the line of play to display the time on the curling
broom .
74. The method as defined in claim 72, wherein wirelessly transmitting at
least the
acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly transmitting a difference
in the
time at which the curling rock crossed two lines of play, and displaying the
difference in the time on the curling broom.
75. The method as defined in claim 74, wherein the two lines of play are a
back line of
the curling sheet and a hog line, and the difference in time is a split time.
42

76. The method as defined in claim 74, wherein wirelessly transmitting the
difference in
the time includes wirelessly transmitting a velocity of the curling rock
between the
two lines of play, and displaying the velocity on the curling broom.
77. The method as defined in any one of claims 71 to 76, wherein wirelessly
transmitting at least the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly

transmitting a coefficient of friction of the curling sheet calculated as a
function of
the acceleration values.
78. The method as defined in any one of claims 71 to 77, wherein wirelessly
transmitting at least the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly

transmitting a direction of travel of the curling rock when it crossed the
line of play.
79. The method as defined in claim 71 or 78, further comprising measuring at
least one
of a temperature and a humidity at separate locations on the curling sheet.
80. The method as defined in any one of claims 71 to 79, wherein wirelessly
transmitting at least the acceleration and rotation values includes wirelessly

transmitting an identification signal comprising information on a player using
the
curling rock, the identification signal including at least one of a name of
the player,
a number of the player, a team of the player, a sex of the player, and an age
of the
player.
81. A system for tracking a play object on a field of play, comprising:
a data-collecting unit mountable to the play object and being operable during
at
least movement of the play object, the data-collecting unit comprising a
power source supplying electrical power to a processor, the processor
being operable to continuously wirelessly transmit an activation signal; and
a tracking array having a base and a plurality of transceivers connected to
the base
and spaced apart along the base, the base and the transceivers being
positionable about the field of play, each transceiver being activated by the
activation signal emitted by the play object during movement thereof, each
transceiver upon being activated wirelessly emitting an information signal
43

indicative of at least a position of the transceiver with respect to the field
of
play.
82. The system as defined in claim 81, wherein each transceiver has a dormant
default
state and is only activated by the activation signal emitted by the play
object.
83. The system as defined in claim 81 or 82, wherein the information signal
includes a
position coordinate of the corresponding transceiver on the field of play.
84. The system as defined in claim 83, wherein the position coordinate
includes at
least one of an identification number of the corresponding transceiver, and an
X
and a Y value of the corresponding transceiver on the field of play.
85. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 84, where the information
signal
includes a time at which the corresponding transceiver was activated by the
activation signal.
86. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 85, wherein the tracking
array is
free of a power source.
87. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 86, wherein the base and
the
transceivers of the tracking array is disposed underneath the field of play.
88. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 87, wherein the base is a
sheet,
and is manipulable to be rolled up and unrolled.
89. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 88, wherein the
transceivers are
disposed on the base in a grid pattern.
90. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 89, wherein the
activation signal
is one of a pulse of sound or a laser.
91. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 90, wherein the base and
the
transceivers are positionable about a goal line of a hockey ice sheet.
44

92. The system as defined in any one of claims 81 to 90, wherein the base and
the
transceivers are positionable about a home plate of a baseball field.
93. A method of tracking a play object on a field of play, comprising:
wirelessly transmitting an activation signal from the play object while the
play object
is moving; and
activating at least one transceiver underneath the field of play with the
activation
signal of the moving play object, the at least one transceiver upon being
activated wirelessly emitting an information signal indicative of at least a
position of the at least one transceiver with respect to the field of play.
94. The method as defined in claim 93, wherein activating the at least one
transceiver
underneath the field of play includes activating at least two transceivers
being
spaced apart from each other underneath the field of play with the activation
signal
of the moving play object, and wirelessly emitting the information signal
including a
time at which the corresponding transceiver was activated by the activation
signal.
95. The method as defined in claim 94, further comprising measuring a
difference
between the time at which each of the at least two transceivers was activated
by
the activation signal.
96. The method as defined in claim 95, further comprising measuring a distance

separating the at least two transceivers, and determining a velocity at which
the
play object moved between the at least two transceivers.
97. The method as defined in any one of claims 93 to 96, wherein activating
the at
least one transceiver underneath the field of play includes positioning the at
least
one transceiver underneath a goal line of a hockey ice sheet.
98. The method as defined in claim 97, wherein activating the at least one
transceiver
underneath the field of play includes wirelessly emitting the information
signal
including a binary signal indicative of whether the play object crossed the
goal line.

99. The method as defined in any one of claims 93 to 98, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the activation signal from the play object includes marking a
time of
transmission of the activation signal, and wherein activating at least one
transceiver
underneath the field of play includes marking a time of transmission of the
information signal, the method further comprising measuring a difference
between
the time of transmission of the activation signal and the time of transmission
of the
information signal, and calculating a distance of the play object above the
field of
play.
100. The method as defined in claim 99, further comprising establishing a zone

above the field of play having a lowermost height and an uppermost height, and

determining whether the distance of the play object above the field of play is

between the lowermost height and the uppermost height of the zone.
101. The method as defined in any one of claims 93 to 100, wherein wirelessly
transmitting the activation signal from the play object includes actively
wirelessly
transmitting the activation signal, and wherein activating the at least one
transceiver underneath the field of play includes activating the at least one
transceiver only with the activation signal.
102. A method of tracking a play object on a field of play, comprising:
wirelessly transmitting an activation trigger while the play object is moving
to impact
the play object; and
detecting the activation trigger with at least one transceiver underneath the
field of
play after the activation trigger has impacted the play object and rebounded
therefrom, the at least one transceiver upon detecting the activation trigger
wirelessly emitting an information signal indicative of at least a position of

the at least one transceiver with respect to the field of play, and a time at
which the activation trigger was detected.
103. The method as defined in claim 102, wherein detecting the activation
trigger with
at least one transceiver underneath the field of play includes activating at
least two

46

transceivers being spaced apart from each other underneath the field of play
with
the activation trigger of the moving play object.
104. The method as defined in claim 103, further comprising measuring a
difference
between the time at which each of the at least two transceivers was activated
by
the activation trigger.
105. The method as defined in claim 104, further comprising measuring a
distance
separating the at least two transceivers, and determining a velocity at which
the
play object moved between the at least two transceivers.
106. The method as defined in any one of claims 102 to 105, wherein detecting
the
activation trigger with the at least one transceiver underneath the field of
play
includes positioning the at least one transceiver underneath a goal line of a
hockey
ice sheet.
107. The method as defined in claim 106, wherein detecting the
activation trigger with
the at least one transceiver underneath the field of play includes wirelessly
emitting
the information signal including a binary signal indicative of whether the
play object
crossed the goal line.
108. The method as defined in any one of claims 102 to 107, wherein wirelessly

transmitting the activation trigger includes marking a time of transmission of
the
activation trigger, and wherein detecting the activation trigger with the at
least one
transceiver underneath the field of play includes marking a time of
transmission of
the information signal, the method further comprising measuring a difference
between the time of transmission of the activation trigger and the time of
transmission of the information signal, and calculating a distance of the play
object
above the field of play.
109. The method as defined in claim 108, further comprising establishing a
zone
above the field of play having a lowermost height and an uppermost height, and

determining whether the distance of the play object above the field of play is

between the lowermost height and the uppermost height of the zone.

47

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CURLING ROCKS, HANDLES, AND SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR TRACKING
PLAY OBJECTS
TECHNICAL FIELD
[0001] The application relates generally to curling and, more particularly, to
objects
used to play curling.
BACKGROUND
[0002] In the sport of curling, information is collected on the distance
travelled, speed,
and rotation of the curling stone or "rock" as it moves along the iced curling
sheet.
Current measurement methods lack both accuracy and breadth. The information
that is
measured may not capture several key variables. Techniques for tracking other
objects
along a playing surface also have drawbacks.
SUMMARY
[0003] In one aspect, there is provided a system for tracking a curling rock
on a curling
sheet, comprising: at least one device fixedly attachable to the curling sheet
to be
aligned with a line of play of the curling sheet, the at least one device
comprising a
position transceiver operable to emit an activation signal upon the curling
rock crossing
the line of play; and a data-collecting unit mountable to the curling rock and
being
operable during at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting
unit
comprising: an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the
curling rock
along at least one translational degree of freedom; a gyroscope unit to
measure rotation
values of the curling rock about at least one rotational degree of freedom; a
processor
in communication with the position transceiver, the accelerometer unit, and
the
gyroscope unit, to obtain the acceleration values from the accelerometer unit,
the
rotation values from the gyroscope unit, and the activation signal from the
position
transceiver, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit the
acceleration values
and the rotation values, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit
data
indicative of player performance upon receiving the activation signal; and a
power
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source supplying electrical power to at least the accelerometer unit, the
gyroscope unit,
and the processor.
[0004] In another aspect, there is provided a system for tracking a curling
rock on a
curling sheet, comprising: at least one device attachable to the curling sheet
to be
aligned with a line of play of the curling sheet, the at least one device
comprising a
position transceiver operable to emit an activation signal upon the curling
rock crossing
the line of play; and a data-collecting unit mountable to the curling rock and
being
operable during at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting
unit
comprising: a processor in communication with the position transceiver to
receive the
activation signal therefrom and to wirelessly transmit a time signal
indicative of a time
when the curling rock crossed the line of play; and a power source supplying
electrical
power to at least the processor.
[0005] In another aspect, there is provided a curling rock, comprising: a rock
body; a
handle attached to the rock body; and a data-collecting unit fixedly mounted
to one of
the rock body and the handle, the data-collecting unit being operable during
at least
movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting unit comprising: an
accelerometer unit
to measure acceleration values of the curling rock along at least one
translational
degree of freedom; a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values of the curling
rock
about at least one rotational degree of freedom; an identification transceiver
being
operable to emit an identification signal comprising information on a player
using the
curling rock; a processor in communication with the identification
transceiver, the
accelerometer unit, and the gyroscope unit, to obtain the acceleration values
from the
accelerometer unit, the rotation values from the gyroscope unit, and the
identification
signal from the identification transceiver, the processor being operable to
wirelessly
transmit the acceleration values, the rotation values, and the identification
signal; and a
power source supplying electrical power to at least the accelerometer unit,
the
gyroscope unit, and the processor.
[0006] In another aspect, there is provided a curling rock handle, comprising:
a handle
body including a grip portion and a mounting portion, the mounting portion
being .
mountable to a curling rock; and a data-collecting unit fixedly mounted to one
of the grip
portion and the mounting portion of the handle, the data-collecting unit being
operable
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during at least movement of the curling rock, the data-collecting unit
comprising: an
accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the curling rock along at
least one
translational degree of freedom; a gyroscope unit to measure rotation values
of the
curling rock about at least one rotational degree of freedom; an
identification transceiver
being operable to emit an identification signal comprising information on a
player using
the curling rock handle; a processor in communication with the identification
transceiver, the accelerometer unit, and the gyroscope unit, to obtain the
acceleration
values from the accelerometer unit, the rotation values from the gyroscope
unit, and the
identification signal from the identification transceiver, the processor being
operable to
wirelessly transmit the acceleration values, the rotation values, and the
identification
signal; and a power source supplying electrical power to at least the
accelerometer unit,
the gyroscope unit, and the processor.
[0007] In another aspect, there is provided a method for collecting data about
a curling
rock displaceable along a curling sheet, comprising: measuring acceleration
values of
the curling rock about at least one translational degree of freedom during
displacement
along the curling sheet; measuring rotation values of the curling rock about
at least one
rotational degree of freedom during displacement along the curling sheet; and
wirelessly transmitting the acceleration and rotation values from the curling
rock upon
the curling rock crossing a line of play of the curling sheet.
[0008] In another aspect, there is provided a curling performance system,
comprising: a
data-collecting unit mountable to a curling rock and being operable during at
least
movement of the curling rock along a curling sheet, the data-collecting unit
comprising:
an accelerometer unit to measure acceleration values of the curling rock along
at least
one translational degree of freedom; a gyroscope unit to measure rotation
values of the
curling rock about at least one rotational degree of freedom; a processor in
communication with the accelerometer unit and the gyroscope unit to obtain the

acceleration values from the accelerometer unit and the rotation values from
the
gyroscope unit, the processor being operable to wirelessly transmit at least
the
acceleration values and the rotation values; and a power source supplying
electrical
power to at least the accelerometer unit, the gyroscope unit, and the
processor; and a
performance unit mountable to a curling broom, the performance unit having a
display
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and a performance processor in communication with the processor of the data-
collecting unit, the performance unit including at least one application
stored in a
memory of the performance processor and executable thereby to: receive the
acceleration and rotation values from the processor of the data-collecting
unit; analyse
at least one of the acceleration values and the rotation values along at least
one of the
translational and rotational degrees of freedom, and generate data indicative
of player
performance; and output the data indicative of player performance to the
display.
[0009] In another aspect, there is provided a method for collecting data about
a curling
rock displaceable along a curling sheet, comprising: tracking when the curling
rock
crosses a first line of play of the curling sheet; tracking when the curling
rock crosses a
second line of play of the curling sheet; determining at least a difference in
time
between when the curling rock crosses the first line and play and the second
line of
play; and wirelessly transmitting the difference in time from the curling
rock; and
receiving a wireless transmission of the difference in time from the curling
rock to alert a
player of the difference in time.
[0010] In another aspect, there is provided a method for communicating between
a
curling rock and a curling broom, the method comprising: measuring
acceleration
values of the curling rock about at least one translational degree of freedom;
measuring
rotation values of the curling rock about at least one rotational degree of
freedom; and
wirelessly transmitting at least the acceleration and rotation values from the
curling rock
to the curling broom upon the curling rock crossing a line of play of the
curling sheet, to
display at least one of the acceleration and rotation values on the curling
broom.
[0011] In another aspect, there is provided a system for tracking a play
object on a field
of play, comprising: a data-collecting unit mountable to the play object and
being
operable during at least movement of the play object, the data-collecting unit

comprising a power source supplying electrical power to a processor, the
processor
being operable to continuously wirelessly transmit an activation signal; and a
tracking
array having a base and a plurality of transceivers connected to the base and
spaced
apart along the base, the base and the transceivers being positionable about
the field of
play, each transceiver being activated by the activation signal emitted by the
play object
during movement thereof, each transceiver upon being activated wirelessly
emitting an
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information signal indicative of at least a position of the transceiver with
respect to the
field of play.
[0012] In another aspect, there is provided a method of tracking a play object
on a field
of play, comprising: wirelessly transmitting an activation signal from the
play object
while the play object is moving; and activating at least one transceiver
underneath the
field of play with the activation signal of the moving play object, the at
least one
transceiver upon being activated wirelessly emitting an information signal
indicative of
at least a position of the at least one transceiver with respect to the field
of play.
[0013] In another aspect, there is provided a method of tracking a play object
on a field
of play, comprising: wirelessly transmitting an activation trigger while the
play object is
moving to impact the play object; and detecting the activation trigger with at
least one
transceiver underneath the field of play after the activation trigger has
impacted the play
object and rebounded therefrom, the at least one transceiver upon detecting
the
activation trigger wirelessly emitting an information signal indicative of at
least a position
of the at least one transceiver with respect to the field of play, and a time
at which the
activation trigger was detected.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0014] Reference is now made to the accompanying figures in which:
[0015] Fig. 1A is a perspective view of a curling rock having a data-
collecting unit,
according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;
[0016] Fig. 1B is a perspective view of a curling rock handle having a data-
collecting
unit, according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;
[0017] Fig. 2 is a schematic view of the data-collecting unit of Figs. 1A and
1B;
[0018] Fig. 3 is a schematic view of a system for tracking the curling rock of
Fig. 1A on
a curling sheet;
[0019] Fig. 4 is a schematic view of curling performance system having a
plurality of
the curling rocks of Fig. 1A in combination with curling brooms;
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[0020] Fig. 5A is a schematic view of a system for tracking a play object on a
field of
play, according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;
[0021] Fig. 5B is a schematic view of a system for tracking a play object with
respect to
a feature of a field of play, according to yet another embodiment of the
present
disclosure;
[0022] Fig. 6A is a schematic view of a system for tracking a play object on a
field of
play, according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;
[0023] Fig. 6B is a schematic view of transceivers of the system of Fig. 6A;
[0024] Figs. 6C to 6E show travel of a play object through the system of Fig.
6A;
[0025] Fig. 7A is a schematic view of the curling rock of Fig. 1A, shown
disassembled;
[0026] Fig. 7B is a schematic perspective view of the curling rock handle of
the curling
rock shown in Fig. 7A; and
[0027] Fig. 8 is a schematic view showing an angle of a curling rock as it
crosses a line
of play of a curling sheet.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
[0028] Fig. 1A illustrates a curling rock 10 or stone for collecting and
transmitting data.
The data collected and transmitted can be analysed to provide information
about the
skills of the player using the curling rock 10. The curling rock 10 can
therefore serve as
a diagnostic or analytic tool for evaluating player performance.
[0029] The curling rock 10 is manipulated during use by a player such that it
undergoes
movement. The curling rock 10 has a rock body 11, which forms the corpus of
the
curling rock 10 and provides structure thereto. An outer surface 12 of the
rock body 11,
and in particular a bottom portion of the outer surface 12, is in contact with
an iced
curling sheet to displace the curling rock 10 along the curling sheet. The
curling rock 10
also has a handle 13 which is gripped by the player to displace the curling
rock 10. The
handle 13 has a grip portion 13A attached to a mounting portion 13B which is
mounted
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to, and removed from, the rock body 11. Once attached to the rock body 11,
there is no
relative movement between the handle 13 and the rock body 11. In the depicted
embodiment, the rock body 11 also has an interior 14 which includes a solid
inner core
14A.
[0030] The curling rock 10 has six degrees of freedom and is manipulated to be
moved
therein. More particularly, the curling rock 10 has three translational
degrees of freedom
in which it can be displaced, and three rotational degrees of freedom about
which it can
rotate. These degrees of freedom are more easily appreciated by referring to
the curling
rock's 10 own coordinate system, defined by three orthogonal axes of motion,
namely
an X axis, a Y axis, and a Z axis. The three translational degrees of freedom
are
displacement movements of the curling rock 10 along the X, Y, and Z axes. In
the
depicted embodiment, the X and Y axes define movement along a horizontal
plane, and
the Z axis is vertically oriented and defines movement in a vertical
direction. The three
rotational degrees of freedom are rotational movements about the X, Y, and Z
axes. In
most instances, but not necessarily all, the curling rock 10 will be displaced
only in the
horizontal plane defined by the X and Y axes, and this plane will be parallel
to the
surface of the curling sheet. In most instances, but not necessarily all, the
curling rock
will rotate only about the Z axis while it is being displaced along the
curling sheet.
[0031] Still referring to Fig. 1A, the curling rock 10 has a data-collecting
unit 20
disposed within the interior 14 of the rock body 11. In the depicted
embodiment, the
data-collecting unit 20 is part of the solid inner core 14A of the rock body
11. The data-
collecting unit 20 collects data related to the movement of the curling rock
10, and
transmits the data to a separate and remote device or system so that it can be
analysed
to provide information on player performance. This movement data can vary, and
the
data is related to the displacement of the curling rock 10 about itself,
through space,
and in time. It will be appreciated that the data-collecting unit 20 can also
be operational
when the curling rock 10 is stationary.
[0032] The location of the data-collecting unit 20 within the curling rock 10
can vary.
For example, in the embodiment of Fig. 1A, the data-collecting unit 20 is
fixedly secured
in place within the interior 14 of the rock body 11 itself, as part of its
inner core 14A. The
inner core 14A is sized to receive the data-collecting unit 20, and may
include a cavity
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for receiving the data-collecting unit 20 which can be secured to the sides or
floor of the
cavity with an adhesive or a mechanical fastener. The fixed relationship
between the
data-collecting unit 20 and the inner core 14A ensures that there is no
relative
movement between the data-collecting unit 20 and the curling rock 10, thereby
enabling
the data-collecting unit 20 to directly measure the movement of the curling
rock 10. For
other types of curling rocks 10, there may not be a cavity, and the data-
collecting unit
20 can be rigidly disposed within the rock body 11 using any other suitable
technique.
[0033] In the embodiment of Fig. 1B, the data-collecting unit 20 is fixedly
secured in
place within the handle 13 of the curling rock 10, either within the grip
portion 13A, the
mounting portion 13B, or somewhere therebetween. The fixed relationship
between the
data-collecting unit 20 and the handle 13 ensures that there is no relative
movement
between the data-collecting unit 20 and the curling rock 10, thereby enabling
the data-
collecting unit 20 to directly measure the movement of the curling rock 10.
[0034] Figs. 7A and 7B show the curling rock body 11, handle 13, and data-
collecting
unit 20. In Fig. 7A, an underside of the curling rock 10 (i.e. the side facing
the ice
surface) is shown, along with a bolt 15 to insert into an aperture 17
extending through
the curling rock body 11. The bolt 15 secures the handle 13 to a top surface
of the
curling rock 10. The data-collecting unit 20 in Figs. 7A and 7B includes a
flexible PCB
which is removably attachable to an underside of the handle 13 with a gasket
19. A
power source 24 of the data-collecting unit 20 includes a non-contact
rechargeable
circuit, and the rechargeable circuit is operable to charge the power source
via
induction.
[0035] Referring to Fig. 2, the data-collecting unit 20 measures the movement
of the
curling rock 10 with one or more accelerometer units 21, and one or more
gyroscope
units 22. A processor 23 communicates with the accelerometer and gyroscope
units
21,22 and transmits their measured values away from the curling rock 10 to a
remote
system or device for analysing the data. The power source 24 provides
electrical power
to each of the accelerometer unit 21, the gyroscope unit 22, and the processor
23. The
power source 24 can be rechargeable. The power source 24 can be wirelessly
rechargeable. Components of the data-collecting unit 20 are now discussed in
greater
detail.
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[0036] The accelerometer unit 21 measures the movement of the curling rock 10
by
generating its acceleration values along one or more of the three
translational degrees
of freedom. "Acceleration values" are understood herein to include
acceleration vectors,
as well as time derivatives/integrals of these values such as speed and
displacement.
The acceleration values therefore have information on the direction of
acceleration
along any one of the X, Y, and Z axes, as well as the magnitude of
acceleration. The
accelerometer unit 21 outputs the acceleration values in units of distance per
unit of
time squared (e.g. in/s2, cm/52, ft/s2, m/s2, etc.). For example, it is
possible to determine
the velocity and speed of the curling rock 10, along any one of the X, Y, and
Z axes,
from the measured acceleration values. It is similarly possible to determine
the distance
travelled by the curling rock 10 along any one of the axes from the measured
acceleration values. If the starting point of the curling rock 10 is known or
determinable,
the distance can be used to determine the displacement of the curling rock 10
along the
iced curling sheet. It can thus be appreciated that the accelerometer unit 21
can be any
device capable of such functionality, and typically includes an accelerometer
and an
associated memory or processor.
[0037] Still referring to Fig. 2, the accelerometer unit 21 samples or
collects data
constantly, at discrete time intervals. The accelerometer unit 21 generally
measures the
acceleration values at a relative high frequency. This sampling frequency can
be in the
range of 500 Hz to 2 kHz, for example, although other sampling frequencies are
also
within the scope of the present disclosure. The higher the sampling frequency,
the more
accurate the subsequent measurements will be, and hence the better the
evaluation of
player performance. The nature of the accelerometer unit 21 can also vary. For

example, the accelerometer unit 21 is a "low g" accelerometer unit 21, meaning
that it is
capable of measuring lower accelerations values in the order of tens of "g".
It will be
appreciated that other "g" values are within the scope of the present
disclosure, and
that the accelerometer unit 21 may have multiple accelerometer units 21, of
both the
high or low "g" types.
[0038] The gyroscope unit 22 measures the movement of the curling rock 10 by
producing its rotation values about one or more of the three rotational
degrees of
freedom. "Rotation values" are understood herein to include measurements of
the
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rotation or "spin" of the curling rock 10, as well as time
derivatives/integrals of these
values. The rotation values include information on the direction of rotation
about any
one of the X, Y, and Z axes, as well as the magnitude of rotation. For
example, it is
possible to determine the angular velocity or speed, as well as the
revolutions per
minute (RPM) of the curling rock 10, about the Z axis from the rotation
values. The
gyroscope unit 22 outputs the rotation values in units of angular displacement
per unit
of time (e.g. deg/s, rad/s, etc.).
[0039] Still referring to Fig. 2, the gyroscope unit 22 samples or collects
data
constantly, at discrete time intervals. The gyroscope unit 22 can measure the
rotation
values at a relative high frequency, an example of which is the range of about
500 Hz to
about 1 kHz. This helps to ensure a high granularity of rotation values
generated by the
gyroscope unit 22 and transmitted by the curling rock 10. A lower capacity
gyroscope
unit 22, such as one that can measure rotations in the order of hundreds of
deg/s, may
also be used. It will therefore be appreciated that other "deg/s" values are
within the
scope of the present disclosure, and that the data-collecting unit 20 may have
more
than one gyroscope unit 22, of the both the high and low capacity types.
[0040] Both the accelerometer and gyroscope units 21,22 may collect movement
data
along one or more of the X, Y, and Z axes. Both the accelerometer and
gyroscope units
21,22 can also be instructed to not generate data along/about the axis in
question. This
can also involve having the processor 23 ignore the data collected related to
the axis in
question, or to not transmit the data from this axis. Disregarding data from
one or more
axes may reduce data transmission and analysis delays.
[0041] The data-collecting unit 20 can have other sensors. In an embodiment,
the data-
collecting unit 20 has a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor. The
temperature
sensor generates temperature values, and the humidity sensor generates
humidity
values. The temperature and humidity sensors are operable to locally measure
the
temperature and humidity of the environment surrounding the curling rock 10 as
it
moves along the curling sheet. The temperature and humidity sensors are
therefore
able to capture changes in temperature and humidity along the curling sheet
between
precise locations thereof. The temperature sensor can include a thermometer,
and the
humidity sensor can include a hygrometer.
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[0042] The processor 23 communicates with the accelerometer unit 21 and with
the
gyroscope unit 22, and other sensors, and obtains from them the acceleration
values
and the rotation values. The processor 23 then transmits the acceleration and
rotation
values at discrete time intervals to a system or device which analyses this
data. In the
depicted embodiment, the processor 23 does not analyse the acceleration and
rotation
values. In an alternate embodiment, the processor 23 performs data analysis
itself. In
the embodiment where the data-collecting unit includes a temperature sensor
and a
humidity sensor, the processor 23 also transmits the temperature and humidity
values
to a system or device which analyses this data. The processor 23 may therefore
be any
device that can collect and transmit data. Some non-limiting examples of the
processor
23 include a microcontroller, a central processing unit (CPU), a front-end
processor, a
microprocessor, a graphics processing unit (GPUNPU), a physics processing unit

(PPU), a digital signal processor, and a network processor. The processor 23
may also
be part of a flexible PCB, which would allow the data-collecting unit 20 to
match a
curvature of the rock body 11 and/or handle 13.
[0043] Still referring to Fig. 2, the processor 23 transmits the acceleration
and rotation
values wirelessly. The transmission of the values is generally performed with
a
transmitting unit 25, such as an antenna or transceiver, to a remote device or
network.
In some embodiments, the transmitting unit 25 is a BluetoothTM transmitter
using low
energy technology with a minimal transmission frequency (i.e. the frequency at
which
the transmitting unit 25 transmits the acceleration and rotation values).
[0044] In the embodiment of Fig. 2, the data-collecting unit 20 includes an
identification
transceiver 26. The identification transceiver 26 is operable emit an
identification signal
discretely, or at periodic intervals. The identification signal includes
information related
to the identity of the player using the curling rock 10. Some non-limiting
examples of
information included in the identification signal include the name of the
player, the
player's number, the player's team, the sex of the player, and the player's
age. The
processor 23 is operable to wirelessly transmit the identification signal away
from the
curling rock 10 for analysis and processing. The identification transceiver 26
may also
receive signals, so as to be programmed or reprogrammed with information
identifying
the player and the curling rock 10 s/he will be using. The combination of the
curling rock
11
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

and identification transceiver 26 allows for the automatic identification of
any player
performing the action on the curling rock 10. In an alternate embodiment, the
data-
collecting unit 20 does not include the identification transceiver 26.
[0045] Referring to Fig. 3, there is disclosed a system 100 for tracking the
curling rock
10 as it is displaced along the curling sheet 110. The curling sheet 110 is
typically a
substantially planar ice surface along which the players and the curling rocks
10 move.
The curling sheet 110 has multiple lines of play 120. Each line of play 120 is
an
elongated marking on the curling sheet 110. The curling rock 10 will often
pass one or
more lines of play 120 while it glides along the surface of the curling sheet
110 after it
has been released by a player. Fig. 3 shows only about half the length of the
curling
sheet 110. The lines of play 120 shown in Fig. 3 include a back line 120A, a
tee line
120B, a hog line 120C, and part of the centreline 120D. The back, tee, and hog
lines
120A,120B,120C extend in a direction that is transverse to a direction of
travel D of the
curling rock 10 during normal curling play, while the centerline 120D is
substantially
parallel to the direction of travel D.
[0046] The system 100 incudes one or more of the data-collecting unit 20
described
above. The data-collecting unit 20 is mountable to, and removable from, some
portion
of a corresponding curling rock 10, and is operable at least while the curling
rock 10 is
moving. The system 100 also includes one or more devices 130 that are
attachable to
the curling sheet 110. In the embodiment of Fig. 3, each device 130 is
embedded within
the ice of the curling sheet 110. In an alternate embodiment, each device 130
is
removably mounted to the ice, or to some above-ice portion of the curling
sheet 110.
Irrespective of how each device 130 is attached to the curling sheet 110, once
so
attached, the device 130 is in a fixed position and does not move. It is
therefore suitably
configured to track a movement of the curling rock 10 with respect to the
device 130.
[0047] Each device 130 is aligned with one of the lines of play 120. The term
"aligned"
is understood to mean that each device 130 is positioned with respect to a
corresponding line of play 120 so that the device 130 can determine when a
curling
rock 10 has crossed the line of play 120. For example, and as shown in Fig. 3,
each
device 130 is embedded within the ice of the curling sheet 110 at both the tee
line 120B
and the hog line 120C to track when the curling rock 10 crosses both lines
120B,120C.
12
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In an alternate embodiment, each device 130 is affixed onto the ice of the
curling sheet
110 above one or more lines of play 120.
[0048] Each device 130 includes a position transceiver 132. The position
transceiver
132 in operation emits an activation signal when the curling rock 10 crosses
the line of
play 120 being monitored by the device 130. The activation signal includes
information
including, but not limited to, the time at which the curling rock 10 crossed
the line of play
120, and the specific line (e.g. back line 120A, tee line 120B, hog line 120C,
etc.) being
monitored by the device 130. In the embodiment of Fig. 3, the position
transceiver 132
becomes aware that the curling rock 10 has crossed the line of play 120 by
receiving
information from the curling rock 10. More particularly, the position
transceiver 132
receives the identification signal emitted by the identification transceiver
26 to
determine when the curling rock 10 has crossed the line of play 120. In an
alternate
embodiment, the curling rock 10 and its data-collecting unit 20 is passive. In
such an
embodiment, the data-collecting unit 20 does not emit any information that is
readable
by the position transceiver 132. Instead, the activation signal emitted by the
position
transceiver 132 impacts the curling rock 10 and is rebounded to the position
transceiver
132 to thereby inform the position transceiver 132 that the curling rock 10
has crossed
the line of play 120.
[0049] In the depicted embodiment, each position transceiver 132 is in a
dormant state
as a default condition, and is only "awoken" or activated when it receives the
activation
signal from the data-collecting unit 20. This passive operation of the
position
transceivers 132 allows the device 130 to be free of any power source. All
energy
required for the operation of the position transceivers 132 is provided by the
activation
signal. Depending on the strength of the activation signal (e.g. low-
frequency, high-
frequency, or ultra-high-frequency) the distance over which the activation
signal can be
received can vary from a few centimeters to a few meters or more.
[0050] The system 100 of Fig. 3 operates as follows. At least one device 130
is aligned
with the tee line 120B, and at least one device 130 is aligned with the hog
line 1200. As
the player displaces the curling rock 10 along the direction D, the position
transceiver
132 of each device 130 will emit the activation signal when the curling rock
10 crosses
the tee line 120B and the hog line 1200. The activation signal in the depicted
13
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embodiment is received by the processor 23 of the data-collecting unit 20 of
the curling
rock 10. The processor 23 uses the information of the activation signal (e.g.
the time at
which the curling rock 10 crossed the tee and hog lines 1206,120C), and with
or without
the acceleration and/or rotation values, can generate data indicative of
player
performance. An example of the data indicative of player performance that the
processor 23 may generate includes data on the time that it takes the curling
rock 10 to
travel between the tee and hog lines 120B,120C, which may be an important
player
performance indicator. The processor 23 in such a configuration wirelessly
emits a time
signal in response to receiving the activation signal from the device 130. The
time
signal is indicative of a moment when the curling rock 10 crossed the
corresponding
line of play 120. In an alternate embodiment, each position transceiver 132
emits the
activation signal to a remote server or computing device which also receives
the
acceleration and rotation values to generate the data indicative of player
performance.
[0051] The processor 23 can also generate other data indicative of player
performance.
Another example of the data indicative of player performance that the
processor 23 may
generate includes data on the rotation of the curling rock 10 when it crosses
one of the
lines of play 120. Yet another example of the data indicative of player
performance that
the processor 23 may generate includes data on the acceleration undergone by
the
curling rock 10 after it has been thrown and while it slides along the curling
sheet 110 to
determine friction from the curling sheet 110. Since it is possible for the
data-collecting
unit 20 to know the mass of the curling rock 10 or to be provided with such
information,
the processor 23 may emit data on a coefficient of friction of the ice surface
at a specific
location or along the path of travel of the curling rock 10. Yet another
example of the
data indicative of player performance that the processor 23 may generate
includes data
on the acceleration, and direction of travel along which, the player releases
the curling
rock 10 once it crosses one of the lines of play 120, to thereby generate data
related to
the player's skill in releasing the curling rock 10 without deviation. Yet
another example
of the data indicative of player performance that the processor 23 may
generate
includes data indicative of the "split time", which is the time it takes for
the curling rock
to travel between the back line 120A and the hog line 1200. The processor 23
in
such a configuration therefore generates data indicative of the strength at
which the
player releases the curling rock 10. Yet another example of the data
indicative of player
14
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performance that the processor 23 may generate includes the time at which the
curling
rock 10 crossed the line of play 120. When comparing players who release the
curling
rock 10 from the same line of play 120, it may be helpful to know the time at
which the
curling rock 10 crosses another line of play 120, in order to compare the
performance of
different players. Yet another example of the data indicative of player
performance that
the processor 23 may generate includes how far the curling rock 10 has
deviated from a
straight line path from its release at a line of play 120 to another location
on the curling
sheet 110, to thereby generate data related to the player's skill in releasing
the curling
rock 10 without left/right lateral drifting. Yet another example of the data
indicative of
player performance that the processor 23 may generate includes whether the
player is
pushing or pulling on the curling rock 10 at the moment of its release. Using
acceleration values generated by the acceleration unit 21 in the moments
leading up to
the release of the curling rock 10, the processor 23 may generate data
indicative of
whether the player is holding back the curling rock 10, or giving it too much
of a push.
[0052] The data indicative of player performance is wirelessly transmitted by
the
processor 23, via its identification transceiver 26 for example, to an object
which is
remote from the curling rock 10. The objet may take many forms. The object may
be a
remote server or computing device, such as a mobile computing device (e.g.
phone,
tablet, laptop, etc.) which further analyses the data indicative of player
performance, or
displays the data indicative of player performance. The object may be a remote
display,
such as a scoreboard. The object may be a remote play object, such as a
curling
broom, which includes a display or alert to convey the data indicative of
player
performance to the player using the curling broom.
[0053] In the embodiment of Fig. 3, there is active/passive communication
between the
device 130 and the data-collecting unit 20. More particularly, the
transmitting unit 25 of
the processor 23 actively emits a signal, and the position transceiver 132 is
operable to
passively receive the signal from the processor 23. Stated differently, the
passive
component (i.e. position transceiver 132) does not actively search for the
signal from
the processor, and is instead energised by its receipt to emit the activation
signal. In an
embodiment, the position transceiver 132 has no electrical power source.
Examples of
active/passive components that can be used as described above include a
passive
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

RFID tag (e.g. near field communication (NFC) tag) used with the position
transceiver
132, and a RFID reader used with the processor 23.
[0054] Referring to Fig. 4, there is disclosed a curling performance system
200. The
system 200 incudes one or more of the data-collecting unit 20 described above.
The
data-collecting unit 20 is mountable to, and removable from, some portion of a

corresponding curling rock 10, and is operable at least while the curling rock
10 is
moving. The system 200 also includes a performance unit 210. The performance
unit
210 collects and displays data indicative of player performance. Each
performance unit
210 is associated with a curling broom 220. More particularly, each
performance unit
210 is attachable to some part of the curling broom 220, and if desired,
removable
therefrom. The curling broom 220 is manipulated by a player (e.g. a "sweeper")
against
the ice of the curling sheet 110 to control the speed and direction of the
curling rock 10
as it is displaced along the curling sheet 110. The system 200 may also
include one or
more of the devices 130 with the position transceivers 132 described above,
which are
fixedly attached to the curling sheet 110 to be aligned with one or more of
the lines of
play 120, and which are used to track a movement of the curling rock 10 with
respect to
the device 130, and with respect to the lines of play 120.
[0055] The performance unit 210 has a display 212 for providing the data
indicative of
player performance to the player manipulating the curling broom 220. The data
can be
provided in a visual, audio, or audiovisual format. In the embodiment of Fig.
4, the
display 212 is a display monitor. The performance unit 212 also has a
performance
processor 214 which communicates with the processor 23 of the data-collecting
unit 20
on the curling rock 10. The performance unit 210 may also include a suitable
power
source to provide electrical power to the display 212 and the performance
processor
214.
[0056] The performance processor 214 contains a memory and one or more
applications stored in the memory to be executed by the performance processor
214. In
operation, the performance processor 214 receives the acceleration and
rotation values
generated by the data-collecting unit 20 of the curling rock 10 from the
processor 23.
The performance processor 214 may also receive from the processor 23 the time
that it
takes for the curling rock 10 to travel between some of the lines of play 20,
such as the
16
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

"split time" described above. The processor 23 transmits at least one of the
acceleration
values, the rotation values, and the times measured between certain lines of
play 120
wirelessly, such as via the transmitting unit 25 described above. The
performance
processor 214 analyse at least one of the acceleration values and the rotation
values
along at least one of their translational and rotational degrees of freedom to
generate
data indicative of player performance. The performance processor 214 outputs
this data
indicative of player performance to the display 212 so that the player
manipulating the
curling broom 220 becomes aware of the data in real time.
[0057] An example of the operation of the system 200 is now described. The
skip of the
curling team intends to release the curling rock 10 to have a specific "split
time" and
spin when the curling rock 10 leaves the hand of the skip at back line 120A.
The data-
collecting unit 20 of the curling rock 10 generates the acceleration and
rotation values,
as well as the times it takes to cross the lines of play 120 by communicating
with the
device 130. The processor 23 transmits these values to the performance unit
210. The
performance processor 214 analyses the acceleration values along the X-Y plane
as
well as the times received from the devices 130 to determine the "split time"
of the
curling rock 10, and also analyses the rotation values about the Z axis to
determine the
angular speed or "spin" of the curling rock 10. The performance processor 214
outputs
the measured "split time" and spin values to the display 212. The display 212
communicates the "split time" and spin values to the player manipulating the
curling
broom 220, either visually or by sound. The player manipulating the curling
broom 220
is therefore aware of the "split time" and spin of the curling rock 10 as it
crosses the hog
line 120C, and based on this data indicative of player performance, can
manipulate the
curling broom 220 against the ice of the curling sheet 110 to control the
speed and spin
of the curling rock 10. It will be appreciated that the performance processor
214 may
generate and output to the display 212 other data indicative of player
performance.
[0058] Fig. 5A shows a system 300 for tracking a play object 310 on a field of
play 311.
The system 300 helps determine the position of the play object 310 in real
time on the
field of play 311, or relative to a feature 312 of the field of play 311. In
the embodiment
of Fig. 5A, the play object 310 is a hockey puck, and the system 300 helps
determine
the position of the hockey puck on the ice surface of the field of play 311,
or with
17
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

respect to one of the line features 312 of the ice surface. "Field of play"
refers to a
delimited or bounded space on which players can play a game or sport,
regardless of
the surface on which the players play. In alternate embodiments, the field of
play 311 is
a grass, wood, clay, or artificial surface. The feature 312 of the field of
play 311 can
also vary, and is not limited to the lines shown in Fig. 5A. It will also be
appreciated that
the play object 310 is not limited to the hockey puck of Fig. 5A. The play
object 310 can
include any other object used in sport or play that is manipulated by a
player. Other
embodiments of the play object 310 are described below.
[0059] The play object 310 includes a data-collecting unit 320, as described
above. The
data-collecting unit 320 in Fig. 5A includes a processor 323 powered by a
power source
324 which provides electrical power to the processor 323. The data-collecting
unit 320
may include other components, such as the accelerometer and gyroscope units
mentioned above. The data-collecting unit 320 of the play object 310 is
"active"
because it continuously and actively emits a signal. More particularly, the
processor 323
is operable to wirelessly transmit an activation signal 322. As described in
greater detail
below, the activation signal 322 activates or energizes one or more components
of the
system 300 that are spaced apart from the play object 310. In the depicted
embodiment, the processor 323 emits the activation signal 322 at all times,
even when
the play object 310 is stationary. In an alternate embodiment, the processor
323 emits
the activation signal 322 only when the play object 310 is moving. In the
depicted
embodiment, the processor 323 emits the activation signal 322 at regular
intervals of
time. In an alternate embodiment, the processor 323 emits the activation
signal 322 at
irregular time intervals. The processor 323, and thus the play object 310,
operates to
actively emit a signal.
[0060] Still referring to Fig. 5A, the system 300 also includes a tracking
array 330 for
tracking the play object 310 along the field of play 311. In the depicted
embodiment, the
tracking array 330 includes a base 331 disposed underneath the ice surface of
the field
of play 311 (the base 331 is shown in dotted lines in Fig. 5A). In the
depicted
embodiment, the base 331 has a rectangular shape to conform to the portion of
the ice
surface under which it is disposed. In an alternate embodiment, such as the
one
described below, the base 331 has a different shape. In the depicted
embodiment, the
18
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

base 331 is pliable so that it can be folded or rolled for ease of deployment
and storage.
In the depicted embodiment, the base 331 is in the form of a sheet or carpet
that can be
unrolled to cover the desired area underneath the ice surface.
[0061] The tracking array 330 also includes multiple transceivers 332
connected to the
base 331 and also disposed underneath the ice surface field of play 311. The
transceivers 332 are spaced apart along the base 331 and emit information to
help
track the play object 310 as it travels along the field of play 311. The
transceivers 332 in
the depicted embodiment are spaced apart to define a grid underneath the ice
surface
of the field of play 311. In an alternate embodiment, each transceiver 332 is
implanted
below the surface of the field of play 311 and the base 331 is a fragmented
support for
each transceiver 332. Other embodiments for connecting the transceivers 332 to
the
base 331 are also possible.
[0062] Still referring to Fig. 5A, each transceiver 332 is passively operated.
More
particularly, each transceiver 332 is energized upon receiving the activation
signal 322
emitted by the play object 310 moving in proximity to the transceiver 332. In
the
depicted embodiment, each transceiver 332 is in a dormant state as a default
condition,
and is only "awoken" or activated when it receives the activation signal 322
from the
play object 310. This passive operation of the transceivers 332 allows the
base 331 and
indeed the tracking array 330 to be free of any power source. All energy
required for the
operation of the transceivers 332 is provided by the activation signal 322.
Depending on
the strength of the activation signal 322 (e.g. low-frequency, high-frequency,
or ultra-
high-frequency) the distance over which the activation signal 322 can be
received can
vary from a few centimeters to a few meters or more.
[0063] Once activated, each transceiver 332 wirelessly emits an information
signal 333
which is indicative of at least a position of the transceiver 332 with respect
to the field of
play 311. For example, an identification number is associated with each
transceiver
332. The identification number is associated with specific coordinates on the
ice surface
(e.g. 17 cm, 24 cm). The information signal 333, upon being activated, may
contain the
identification number of the transceiver which is indicative of the position
of the
transceiver 332. As the play object 310 moves past different transceivers 332,
the
information signal 333 emitted by the activated transceivers 332 helps to map
the
19
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

trajectory of the play object 310 along the ice surface. The transceivers 332
can be any
suitable device or take any suitable shape in order to achieve such
functionality.
[0064] The information signal 333 is wirelessly transmitted by each activated
transceiver 332 to an object which is remote from the field of play 311. The
objet may
take many forms. The object may be a remote server or computing device, such
as a
mobile computing device (e.g. phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) which further
analyses the
information signal 333 to generate a map of the trajectory of the play object
310, or
displays the information signal. The object may be a remote display, such as a

scoreboard or computing device.
[0065] An example of the tracking of the hockey puck play object 310 along the
ice
surface of the field of play 311 is now described with reference to Fig. 5A.
As the
hockey puck moves along the ice surface, it emits the activation signal 322.
When the
hockey puck passes over one of the transceivers 332 underneath the ice surface
in
sufficient proximity thereto, the activation signal 322 from the hockey puck
will activate
the transceiver 332 such that it will emit the information signal 333. In the
depicted
embodiment, the information signal 333 includes the coordinates of the
transceiver 332
on the ice surface. In the depicted embodiment, the transceiver 332A is
operable to
emit an information signal 333 with the coordinates "1:2", where "1" is the X
position of
the transceiver 332A on the base 331, and "2" is the Y position of the
transceiver 332A
on the base 331. Alternatively, the information signal 333 contains an
identification
number for the transceiver 332A that is associated with a specific location on
the ice
surface. Similarly, the transceiver 332B is operable to emit an information
signal 333
with the coordinates "1:4", where "1" is the X position of the transceiver
332B on the
base 331, and "4" is the Y position of the transceiver 332A on the base 331.
It will be
appreciated that each transceiver 332 has a unique set of coordinates on the
base 331.
When the system 300 receives the coordinates from the transceivers 332A,332B,
it will
determine that the hockey puck has travelled between the transceivers
332A,332B a
distance in the Y direction of 3 units. By also determining the difference in
time between
when the system 300 received the information signals 333 from the transceivers

332A,332B, the system 300 is also able to determine the average speed at which
the
hockey puck travelled between the transceivers 332A,332B. It will be
appreciated that
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

the information signal 333 may contain other information on the transceiver
332, and is
thus not limited to only information on the position of the transceiver 332.
[0066] Still referring to Fig. 5A, another example of the operation of the
system 300 is
described. Transceivers 332C,332D,332E are located directly underneath the
goal line
312A of the ice surface. The transceivers 332C,332D,332E operate to detect if
the
hockey puck has crossed the goal line 312A, and thus, whether a goal has been
scored. As the hockey puck moves past the goal line 312A, its activation
signal 322 will
energise one or more of the transceivers 3320,332D,332E. The transceivers
332C,332D,332E which are activated by the activation signal 322 will emit the
information signal 333 indicating their position on the ice surface. The
system 300, upon
receiving the one or more information signals 333, will be able to determine
if and when
the hockey puck has crossed the goal line 312A. The information signal in the
depicted
embodiment includes a logic or binary signal indicative of whether the hockey
puck has
or has not crossed the goal line 312A.
[0067] In the embodiment of Fig. 5A, there is therefore active/passive
communication
between the play object 310 and the tracking array 330. More particularly, the

processor 323 of the play object 310 actively emits a signal, and the
transceivers 332
are operable to passively receive the signal from the processor 323. Stated
differently,
the passive component (i.e. transceivers 332) does not actively search for the
signal
from the processor 323, and is instead energised by its receipt to emit the
information
signal 333. In an embodiment, the transceiver 332 has no electrical power
source.
Examples of active/passive components that can be used as described above
include a
passive RFID tag (e.g. near field communication (NFC) tag) used with the
transceivers
332, and a RFID reader used with the processor 323.
[0068] Fig. 6A shows another embodiment of the system 400 for tracking a play
object
410 on a field of play 411. The system 400 operates similarly to the system
300
described above, and therefore similar components and their reference numbers
are
incorporated by reference in the following paragraphs and will not be
described again
herein. In the embodiment of Fig. 6A, the play object 410 is a curling rock,
and the
system 400 helps determine the position of the curling rock on the ice surface
curling
21
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

sheet field of play 411, or with respect to one of the line features 412 of
the curling
sheet.
[0069] The data-collecting unit 420 of the curling rock 410 is "active"
because it
continuously and actively emits a signal. i.e., the activation signal 422. The
tracking
array 430 includes the base 431 disposed underneath the curling sheet 411 (the
base
431 is shown in dotted lines in Fig. 6A). In the depicted embodiment, the base
431 has
a rectangular shape to conform to the portion of the curling sheet under which
it is
disposed. The base 431 is pliable so that it can be folded or rolled for ease
of
deployment and storage. In the depicted embodiment, the base 431 is in the
form of a
sheet or carpet that can be unrolled to cover the desired area underneath the
curling
sheet.
[0070] The transceivers 432 of the base 431 are disposed underneath the
curling
sheet. Fig. 6A shows that the transceivers 432 are disposed transversely
across the
curling sheet and all along its length. The transceivers 432 are spaced apart
along the
base 431 and emit information to help track the curling rock 410 as it travels
along the
curling sheet. The transceivers 432 in the depicted embodiment are spaced
apart to
define a grid underneath the curling sheet. Each transceiver 432 is passively
operated,
and is energized upon receiving the activation signal 422 emitted by the
curling rock
410 moving in proximity to the transceiver 432. Once activated, each
transceiver 432
wirelessly emits an information signal 433 which is indicative of at least a
position of the
transceiver 432 with respect to the curling sheet field of play 411. As the
curling rock
410 moves past different transceivers 432, the information signal 433 emitted
by the
activated transceivers 432 helps to map the trajectory of the curling rock 410
along the
curling sheet. Fig. 6B shows an example of the trajectory or travel path
followed by the
curling rock 410 along the curling sheet. More particularly, Fig. 6B shows the

transceivers 432 which have been sequentially activated or energised by the
curling
rock 410 after it has travelled along the curling sheet.
[0071] An example of the tracking of the curling rock play object 410 along
the ice
surface of the curling sheet 411 is now described with reference to Figs. 60
to 6E. As
the curling rock moves along the ice surface, it emits the activation signal
422, as
shown in Fig. 6C. When the curling rock passes over one of the transceivers
432
22
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

underneath the ice surface in sufficient proximity thereto, the activation
signal 422 from
the curling rock will activate the transceiver 432 such that it will emit the
information
signal 433, as shown in Figs. 60 and 6E. It will be appreciated that each
transceiver
432 has a unique set of coordinates on the base 431. When the system 400
receives
the coordinates from the transceivers 432, it will determine which
transceivers 432 the
curling rock has travelled over. By also determining the difference in time
between
when the system 400 received the information signals 433 from the transceivers
432,
the system 400 is also able to determine the average speed at which the
curling rock
travelled between the transceivers 432.
[0072] Yet another example of the data indicative of player performance that
may be
generated includes the angle of travel or release of the curling rock 10 as it
crosses one
of the lines of play 120. Part of a player's skill in curling is determined by
knowing
whether the player released the curling rock 10 toward its intended target,
such as the
broom of another player for example, when the player pushed off to release the
curling
rock 10. This data indicative of player performance can be determined in
different ways.
[0073] Referring to Fig. 8, the transceivers 432 of the base 431 are disposed
underneath the curling sheet 110, and emit information to help track the
curling rock 10
as it travels along the curling sheet 110. As the curling rock 10 is pushed by
the player
toward the line of play 120 at which the curling rock 10 will be released, the
curling rock
will pass over the transceivers 432 and energise them to produce a trajectory
or
travel path P followed by the curling rock 10 along the curling sheet 110
prior to its
release. From this information, it is possible to determine the angle of
release OR of the
curling rock 10, which is defined between the travel path P of the curling
rock 10
according to the transceivers 432, and a line perpendicular to the line of
play 120, such
as the centerline 120D. To determine the accuracy of the player's shot, the
angle of
release OR of the curling rock 10 may be compared to the target angle OT. A
line is
defined between the point on the line of play 120 where the curling rock 10
crosses,
and the target that the player is aiming for, in this example the curling
broom 220 further
down the curling sheet 110. The location of the curling broom 220 may be
determined
by prompting the performance processor 214 to emit a signal to energise one or
more
transceivers 432 underneath the curling broom 220. The target angle OT is the
angle
23
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

between this line and a line perpendicular to the line of play 120, such as
the centerline
1200.
[0074] Another technique for determine the angle of release OR of the curling
rock 10
relies on the components of the data-collecting object 20. The acceleration
values
produced by the accelerometer unit 21 provide the X and Y acceleration
components of
the curling rock 10 on the curling sheet when it is released at the line of
play 120. From
this information, it is possible to determine the hypotenuse, which
corresponds to the
travel path P along which the curling rock 10 is released. The angle of
release OR of the
curling rock 10 equals the angle formed between the hypotenuse and a line
perpendicular to the line of play 120, such as the centerline 1200. In some
instances,
when determining the angle of release OR using this technique, it will be
necessary to
account for any rotation of the curling rock 10 when it is released. The
gyroscope unit
22 of the data-collecting unit 20 is able to determine the initial angle of
the curling rock
10, or some component thereof, at the time of the player pushing off the hack
(i.e. the
foothold device). To obtain the true angle of release OR it will be necessary
in some
instances to subtract the initial angle of the curling rock 10 or some
component thereof
(e.g. the handle 13) from the angle of release OR.
[0075] Although the techniques described above for determining the angle of
release
OR are explained with respect to releasing the curling rock 10 from one of the
lines of
play 120, it will be appreciated that these techniques may also be applied to
determine
the angle of release OR of the curling rock 10 when it is released from any
point on the
curling sheet 110.
[0076] Referring to Fig. 5B, another example of the operation of the system
300 is
described. The play object 310 is a baseball and the feature 312 of the
baseball field of
play is a home plate 312B. In the depicted embodiment, the shape of the base
331
(shown in dotted lines) disposed underneath home plate 312B is the same as the
shape
of home plate 312B. More particularly, the shape of the base 331 is a
pentagon.
Transceivers 332F-332J are attached to the base 331 and located directly
underneath
the five corners of home plate 312B. The transceivers 332F-332J operate to
detect if
the baseball has crossed over the boundaries of home plate 312B, and thus,
whether
the pitcher has thrown a strike. As the baseball moves over home plate 312B,
its
24
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

activation signal 322 will energise one or more of the transceivers 332F-332J.
The
transceivers 332F-332J which are activated by the activation signal 322 will
emit the
information signal 333 indicating their position on home plate 312B. The
system 300,
upon receiving the one or more information signals 333, will be able to
determine if and
when the baseball crossed over home plate 312B, and thus, whether a strike was

thrown. The system 300 in Fig. 5B therefore allows for the automatic detection
of
strikes.
[0077] In sports or games where the play object 310 travels in the air above
the field of
play 311, the system 300 can help determine a third dimension of travel of the
play
object, i.e. its height above the field of play 311. This may be important in
baseball, for
example, where the strike zone is defined by the X-Y coordinates of home plate
312B,
but also by the Z coordinate perpendicular to the X-Y plane of home plate
312B. Still
referring to Fig. 5B, in an example, the baseball passes directly over the
transceivers
332F and 332J. When the baseball travels over the transceiver 332F, the system
300 is
able to determine the time it took the activation signal 322 emitted by the
baseball to
cause the emission of the information signal 333 from the transceiver 332F.
Knowing
the speed of travel of the activation signal 322 from the baseball to the
transceiver 332F
(e.g. speed of light or sound), also known as the "time of flight" of the
activation signal
332, the system 300 can determine the distance in the Z axis of the baseball
over the
transceiver 332F, and thus, determine the height of the baseball over home
plate 312B
at the corner under which the transceiver 332F is disposed. In a similar
fashion, the
system 300 is able to determine the height of the baseball over home plate
312B at the
corner under which the transceiver 332J is disposed. This triangulation
performed by
the system 300 can thus accurately determine the height of the baseball over
home
plate 312B as it travels from one corner of home plate 312B to another. The
system 300
is thus able to determine whether the baseball has travelled through the
strike zone. In
a particular embodiment, the strike zone is predefined with a vertical or
height extent,
such as for example starting at a lowermost height of about 50 cm above the
surface of
home plate to an uppermost height of about 150 cm above the surface of home
plate.
Once the system 300 determines the height of the baseball over home plate 312B
at
the corner under which the transceiver 332F is disposed, it can compare the
height to
the extent of the strike zone to determine whether the distance of the
baseball above
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

home plate 32B is between the lowermost height and the uppermost height of the
strike
zone.
[0078] Another configuration of the system 300 is now described with reference
to Fig.
5B. In this configuration, the transceivers 332F-332J of the base 331 are
active, and
actively emit an activation trigger 322 as pulses of sound. The activation
trigger 322 can
be a signal or other electronic communication which causes data to be
collected by the
transceivers 332F-332J. The transceivers 332F-332J are also operable to detect
and
record reflections of the sound waves off of objects, such as the baseball. In
this
configuration, the home plate 312B is powered to power the transceivers 332F-
332J so
that they can emit the activation trigger 322. The home plate 312B in this
configuration
is provided with a suitable power source, such as a battery. The baseball may
be
passive such that it has no sensor or electronic component, or it may actively
emit a
signal as described above. One possible technique for determining the location
of the
baseball with respect to home plate 312B is now described. The transceivers
332F-
332J are operable to emit the activation trigger 322 as sound pulses, and to
detect the
reflected activation trigger 322 sound waves from the baseball. The system 300
knows
when the activation triggers 322 were emitted, and also knows when the
reflected
activation triggers 322 are detected. The system 300 is thus able to determine
the time
it took for the activation trigger 322 to travel from the transceivers 332F-
332J and to
return to the transceivers 332F-332J after impacting the baseball. Knowing the
speed of
sound, the system 300 can determine the distance in the Z axis of the baseball
over the
transceivers 332F-332J, and thus, determine the height of the baseball over
home plate
312B, and thus whether the baseball passed through the strike zone. This "time
of
flight" technique, which triangulates the position of the baseball with
respect to home
plate 312B, can thus accurately approximate the height of the baseball over
home plate
312B as it travels over home plate 312B.
[0079] In a particular embodiment, the tracking of the baseball over home
plate 312B is
triggered by measurements made on the baseball by the system 300. As the
pitcher
throws the baseball, the velocity of the pitch is determined. Knowing the
velocity of the
pitch, the system 300 communicates with the transceivers 332F-332J and
commands
them to become active between a certain time interval during which the
baseball is
26
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

=
expected to cross over home plate 312B. For example, the speed of the pitch
once the
baseball is released by the pitcher would trigger the system 300 to command
the
transceivers 332F-332J that they should expect the baseball to first be over
home plate
312B in about 0.3 seconds, and that the baseball will be expected to cross
over home
plate 312B for a total duration of 0.02 seconds. This embodiment of the system
300
combines tracking the play object with information generated about the play
object
itself.
[0080] Another configuration of the system 300 is now described with reference
to Fig.
5B. In this configuration, the transceivers 332F-332J of the base 331 are
active, and
actively emit an activation trigger 322 as a laser. The transceivers 332F-332J
or other
sensors on home plate 312B are also operable to detect and record reflections
of the
light off of objects, such as the baseball. In this configuration, the home
plate 312B is
powered to power the transceivers 332F-332J so that they can emit the laser
activation
trigger 322. The may emit a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL).
The sensors
on home plate 312B are passive and are paired to the laser-emitting
transceivers 332F-
332J. The home plate 312B in this configuration is thus provided with a
suitable power
source, such as a battery, to power only the transceivers 332F-332J. The
baseball in
this configuration is passive such that it has no sensor or electronic
component. One
possible technique for determining the location of the baseball with respect
to home
plate 312B is now described. The transceivers 332F-332J are operable to emit
the
activation trigger 322 as lasers, and the passive sensors detect the reflected
activation
trigger 322 laser after they impact the baseball. The system 300 knows when
the
activation triggers 322 were emitted, and also knows when the reflected
activation
triggers 322 are detected. The system 300 is thus able to determine the time
it took for
the activation triggers 322 to travel from the transceivers 332F-332J and to
return to the
transceivers 332F-332J after impacting the baseball. Knowing the speed of
light, the
system 300 can determine the distance in the Z axis of the baseball over the
transceivers 332F-332J, and thus, determine the height of the baseball over
home plate
312B, and thus whether the baseball passed through the strike zone. This "time
of
flight" technique, which triangulates the position of the baseball with
respect to home
plate 312B, can thus accurately approximate the height of the baseball over
home plate
312B as it travels over home plate 312B. This configuration of the system 300
may also
27
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

combine tracking the play object with information generated about the play
object itself,
as described above.
[0081] The system 300 disclosed herein, in at least one of the configurations
described,
allows for placing an active emitter on the play object 310 and a passive
receiver on the
field of play 311. In contrast, some conventional systems have active
receivers on the
field of play and active emitters on a player, and thus require significantly
more energy
and coordination to determine the position of the player on the field of play.
[0082] The mention of curling rocks, brooms, and sheets above does not limit
the
systems disclosed herein to being used only in the sport of curling. The
combination of
the data-collecting unit 20 mounted to a play object and the performance unit
210 can
be used in other sports and activities as well. For example, the play object
can be a
baseball, and the performance unit 210 can be attached to a play accessory
that is a
baseball glove. Similarly, the play object can be a golf ball, and the
performance unit
210 can be attached to a play accessory that is a golf club. Similarly, the
play object
can be a bowling ball, and the performance unit 210 can be attached to a play
accessory that is a bowling glove.
[0083] The above description is meant to be exemplary only, and one skilled in
the art
will recognize that changes may be made to the embodiments described without
departing from the scope of the invention disclosed. Still other modifications
which fall
within the scope of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in
the art, in
light of a review of this disclosure, and such modifications are intended to
fall within the
appended claims.
28
CA 3006829 2018-05-30

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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(22) Filed 2018-05-30
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2018-11-30

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Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Filing $400.00 2018-05-30
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
INTELLISPORTS INC.
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
None
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Abstract 2018-05-30 1 17
Description 2018-05-30 28 1,525
Claims 2018-05-30 19 799
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