Getting Started...March 14, 2019
Welcome to the grand opening of The Disc Lab! This is a project that's been almost a year in the making. The seed of how to scientifically rate disc golf discs started a year ago in the spring. It took a few months of experimenting to get a working example of tracking moving objects in video and calculating the 3D position. With a working example, a lot of the summer and into the fall was programming the infrastructure for efficient data collection, video processing, disc flight simulation, and disc rating. There was also quite a bit of programming work on how to visualize the results with the 3D graphics you see on the site. From there it was time to move into data collection.
Initial Data Collection
The initial set of discs that have been rated is limited by those discs that are readily available and those that could be borrowed from friends. Most of the rating information on The Disc Lab is meant to represent brand new discs which further limited what was available. A few purchases where made, but also a few used discs were used. You might notice the worn look in a few of the disc pics and the more understable flight paths. So far, only Innova discs have been rated due to their availability, but other brands are certainly a goal. The initial data collection was a good proof of concept, but a lot of work remains for data collection, analysis, and presentation on the site.
With initial data collection completed last fall, the process of building out the website began. While the website has been available for a month or two, this posts represents the official public release. Please let us know if there's something that isn't working for you or if you just have suggestions for improvements. The best way to reach out to us is through the contact page.
With the official release of the website, The Disc Lab team is not taking a break. We're looking to improve. The main area of improvement will be in expanding the discs we've rated. To offer a more complete picture of what discs are out there, we need to rate more molds and more brands. It is also important to rate multiple discs of the same mold to average out variability from disc to disc. The prospect of acquiring literally hundreds of discs is a significant financial obstacle. We are looking into various ways of getting the needed discs more cheaply or offsetting the cost of the discs. Stay tuned for more announcements in that area!
There are also plenty of ideas for content to add to the site related to disc physics, shot selection, plastics, studies of how discs wear in, and studies of mold variability. The range of possible topics is huge and only grows with the more data we collect. All of our content will be based on a scientific approach and leveraging our computer models. It saves time and a lot of muscle soreness to let our computers throw thousands of shots rather than going out to a field and collecting the data. We excited to see where this website goes and how it can help grow the sport of disc golf. If you have ideas for us to cover in future posts, please submit them here.