Graphical icon displays wind speed and direction in real-time, designed for ABC Sports golf telecasts.

Until the development of the Unisys wind monitor, wind conditions at professional golf tournaments were estimated by officials walking alongside various points of the course, gauging speed and direction and relaying the information via radio to the production truck for inclusion in the broadcast.  This method caused significant lapses in time between the golfer’s shot and the wind information appearing on the television screen.  Consequently, viewers could only guess about the impact of the wind on overall competition.

his advanced technology solution captures, in real time, wind speed and direction relative to the fairway from the golfer’s perspective and relays the data, via radio, to a computer inside the network production truck.  In turn, the computer generates a real-time graphical icon showing wind speed in miles per hour and an arrow that represents the exact direction that the wind is blowing.

ABC Sports Television featured the Unisys branded icon when a player was preparing for a critical shot at the British Open, played at Carnoustie.  This course has fairly flat and open terrain exposed to fiercely blowing winds.  ABC Sports has used the Unisys Wind Meter during several of its PGA tournament broadcasts this year, and will continue to use it in future ABC Sports Television golf broadcasts.

How it works

The Golf Wind Meter comprises three key elements:

  • Portable telemetry stations, which feature a precision anemometer and wind vane mounted atop a telescoping pole, capable of extending up to 18 feet.  During the Carnoustie competition, Unisys used three of these devices to report on wind conditions.
  • The RPC-220, a small microcontroller unit located on the telemetry station, which samples the instruments, compiles the wind speed and direction measurements and transmits the data over a radio modem to a base station PC inside the ABC Sports Television production truck.
  • The base system inside the broadcast production unit, comprising a PC using  a 350 MHz Intel Pentium II processor and running the Microsoft Windows NT operating system, with a modem to connect to the telemetry remotes and a professional-quality television character and graphics interface card.

The following story was submitted by Jeff Schroeder, Systems Design Consultant, of Unisys Corporation.  

I chose the RPC220 because of its long list of features for the money, and its well-matched and well-documented developers’ kit and extensive sample software, which gave me a huge head-start on a project with a very rapid development time.

The mix of numerous digital and analog I/O ports, timers, counters, serial communications, and real-time clock gave me confidence the board would meet my needs even though the design was still in progress.  The documentation and sample software were so thorough and accurate that I had the beginnings of my own application up and running within 12 hours of opening the box! –
on a processor I had never used before!  Both the board and the developers’ kit were very reasonably priced.  Pre- and post-sale support has been excellent – no waiting, and accurate, expert answers.

Jeff Schroeder
Systems Design Consultant
Sports Marketing
Unisys Corporation

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