An Olympic opportunity

In his earlier years, my father, William John Wilson, was a walker. For those of you a little young to remember this sport, it requires running at speed around a track while maintaining one foot in contact with the ground at all times.

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In his earlier years, my father, William John Wilson, was a walker. For those of you a little young to remember this sport, it requires running at speed around a track while maintaining one foot in contact with the ground at all times. My dad, a member of the Highgate Harriers (www.highgateharriers.org.uk), was so good at it that he won numerous prizes for his endeavors and was nominated to walk at the 1936 Olympics. To this day my brother and I cherish the number of trophies that he won at numerous events.

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My father, William John Wilson (circa 1935), who was a contender for the 1936 Olympics, never played a game of golf in his life.

Unfortunately, my father did not attend the Olympics in 1936. Being an adventurer, he decided to climb a steel barbed fence, fell on it, and was admitted to hospital for surgery, which ruined any opportunity of competing.

In the following years, my father decided that engineering was perhaps a more lucrative profession and watched as "speed walking" was eliminated (and finally reinstated) as an Olympic sport.

Today, things are a lot different. It seems every game is now permitted to qualify as an Olympic event. Indeed, just recently I saw a competition for rifle shooting. Being an opinionated fellow (rather like his son), my father would have said something about this. Indeed, I wonder what he would have thought about golf as an Olympic event!

I do not play golf. I despise the game. Watching grown men (and women) who knock a little ball around for hours to finally place it in a tin cup does not appeal to me one iota.

What does appeal to me, as you will notice from the front cover of this month's publication, is the ingenuity of those who design machine-vision systems that inspect these products.

Is it the game of golf that intrigues me about the system that you will discover in the article? Certainly not. Is it the patented design of the motion transportation system that moves the golf balls through the system, the novel use of multiple linescan cameras that inspect these golf balls, and the third-party software engineering that helped the system developer to design such a tool? It certainly is.

Why write about a system that performs what seems to be a unique application? What could others possibly learn -- apart from how to inspect golf balls -- by describing the design of this system?

If I know you, our reader, you will look beyond the game of golf and indeed the inspection of golf balls just as my father looked beyond the sport of running. Rather, you will delight in the rather elegant design of this system and perhaps learn how the technologies can be incorporated into your own -- possibly rather different -- application.

It's not the game you see, it's how you play it…

Andy Wilson, Editor in Chief
andyw@pennwell.com

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