Title:
AUDIO DIGITAL RECORDING AND PLAYBACK DEVICE CONFIGURED TO CONVENIENTLY STORE AND PLAY AUDIBLE MESSAGES PERTAINING TO SPECIFIC GOLFING TECHNIQUES AND SITUATIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An audio digital recording and playback device is configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques. The device includes a housing, a power supply contained within the housing, switches operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf, a play-record mode selector control, a speaker, a volume adjustment switch, a visual indicator and a microphone. The switches are configured (i.e., spaced and sized) to allow an operator wearing a golf glove to easily manipulate them. A circuit within the housing produces and stores message data from the analog audio signals corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf. In playback mode, the circuit produces analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmits the analog output message signals to the speaker.



Inventors:
Sheen, Donald P. (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Stubbs, Robert W. (Glen Rock, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/623393
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
01/16/2007
Assignee:
POCKET PRO, LLC (Glen Rock, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B57/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MCCORD, PAUL C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark Young, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories, said apparatus comprising; a housing; a power supply contained within the housing; a control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf; a play-record mode selector control adapted for enabling operator selection of play and record modes of operation; a speaker adapted for producing audible output; a microphone adapted for receiving acoustic message input and producing analog audio signals from said acoustic message input corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf; a circuit contained within the housing and configured to: operate in a mode of operation indicated by the play-record mode selector control, produce and store message data from the analog audio signals corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and produce analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmit said analog output message signals to the speaker.

2. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf.

3. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of momentary contact switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf.

4. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of momentary contact switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf from the group of categories consisting of Full Swing, Pitching, Chipping, Sand and Putting.

5. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf, and said plurality of switches being sized and spaced to allow an operator to easily manipulate each of said plurality of switches.

6. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf, and said plurality of switches being spaced to allow an operator wearing a golf glove to easily manipulate them, wherein the center of said plurality of switches is spaced about at least 0.5 inches from center of each adjacent switch.

7. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf, and said plurality of switches being spaced to allow an operator wearing a golf glove to easily manipulate them, wherein the space between adjacent edges of adjacent switches is about at least 0.25 inches.

8. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf; and the circuit contained within the housing is configured to produce analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmit said analog output message signals to the speaker, when the play/record mode selector control is set in a play mode and a switch corresponding to the selected category pertaining to golf is actuated.

9. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein housing comprises a handle and a speaker housing, said handle containing the circuit and said speaker housing containing the speaker.

10. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising an indicator operably coupled to the circuit and adapted to signal a status of the device.

11. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising an LED indicator operably coupled to the circuit and adapted to visibly signal a status of the device.

12. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the microphone is a microphone from the group consisting of electret, condenser, piezo, carbon, ribbon and plunger coil microphones.

13. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a suspender attached to the housing, said suspender adapted to facilitate hanging the apparatus.

14. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a volume adjustment switch operably coupled to the circuit and configured to control volume of the speaker.

15. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories, said apparatus comprising; a housing; a power supply contained within the housing; a control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf, wherein the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches, each of said plurality of switches being assigned to a category pertaining to golf, and said plurality of switches being spaced to allow an operator wearing a golf glove to easily manipulate them, wherein the center of said plurality of switches is spaced about at least 0.5 inches from center of each adjacent switch and the space between adjacent edges of adjacent switches is about at least 0.25 inches; a play-record mode selector control adapted for enabling operator selection of play and record modes of operation; a speaker adapted for producing audible output; a microphone adapted for receiving acoustic message input and producing analog audio signals from said acoustic message input corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf; a circuit contained within the housing and configured to: operate in a mode of operation indicated by the play-record mode selector control, produce and store message data from the analog audio signals corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and produce analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmit said analog output message signals to the speaker.

16. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the circuit contained within the housing is configured to produce analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmit said analog output message signals to the speaker, when the play/record mode selector control is set in a play mode and a switch corresponding to the selected category pertaining to golf is actuated.

17. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 16, wherein housing comprises a handle and a speaker housing, said handle containing the circuit and said speaker housing containing the speaker.

18. A portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus according to claim 17, further comprising an LED indicator operably coupled to the circuit and adapted to visibly signal a status of the device.

19. A golf tip recording and playback process using a portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories according to claim 1, said process comprising steps of selecting a record mode, selecting a category, receiving audible sounds through a microphone and generating analog audio signals corresponding to the audible sounds for a determined period of time, converting the analog audio signals to digital audio data according to a determined sampling frequency, encoding the digital audio data, and storing the encoded digital audio data in a memory location allocated for the category.

20. A golf tip recording and playback process using a portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories according to claim 15, said process further comprising steps of selecting a play mode, selecting the category, setting a desired playback volume level accessing from the memory and decoding the stored encoded data corresponding to the selected category, converting the decoded data to analog output signals, amplifying the analog output signals, transmitting the amplified analog output signals to the speaker.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. provisional application 60/760, 296, filed Jan. 20, 2006, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by this reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to golf training, and more particularly, to an audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations.

BACKGROUND

As golf has become an increasingly popular pastime over the years, many players wishing to improve their own personal techniques have pursued professional assistance. Often, players, whether they are professionals or amateurs, may wish to recall the advice of their trainers while playing golf. Unfortunately, however, players have limited options available to facilitate recollection of coaching tips during play. Such options may include memorization or referring to written notes. In each case, the onus is on the golfer to quickly and accurately recall a coaching tip for a particular golfing situation. Even for a seasoned and disciplined golfer, quickly and accurately recalling coaching advice for each golfing situation can be extremely difficult, especially with passage of time.

The use of generally available prerecorded instructional audio guides are of marginal utility during golf. Such presentations direct information towards a mass audience as a whole, without any allowance for a person's particular technique and deficiencies. Additionally, such prerecorded presentations require a compatible playback device, such as a tape or CD player. Even if a portable audio recorder/player is available, navigating to a particular tip that corresponds to a particular golf situation can be a daunting time-consuming task.

What is needed is an aesthetically pleasing, inconspicuous, easy to use, audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations. The invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems and solving one or more of the needs as set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve one or more of the problems set forth above, in an exemplary implementation of the invention, an aesthetically pleasing, inconspicuous, easy to use, audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations is provided. The exemplary device is a portable handheld audio recording and playback device for use by golfers in recording and playing back tips with respect to strategies for play of holes on a golf course. In an exemplary embodiment, the device has a rectangular handle which is 1″ (depth)×0.5″ (width)×2.5″ (approx. height), with a speaker housing of 1.2″ (diameter)×1.1″ (depth) mounted atop the handle. The front of the device reveals a variety of category (i.e., golf swing category) buttons, an opening for a built in microphone, and openings for a built in speaker. Controls for record, playback, volume and on/off are side-mounted. Internally, the exemplary device contains a digital recording and playback device controlled by the externally mounted control buttons. The device is battery powered.

Recorded tips are segregated into “tee”, “fairway”, “chip” and “putt”, with an individual front-mounted buttons to record or access each category of tip. Buttons and side-mounted controls are sized and spaced to allow a person wearing a golf glove to manipulate. LED lighting at bottom front indicates record mode and recording stop/start.

Thus, in one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories is provided. The apparatus includes a housing, a power supply contained within the housing, a control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf. A play-record mode selector control is provided for enabling operator selection of play and record modes of operation. The exemplary housing includes a handle and a speaker housing. The handle contains the circuit and the speaker housing contains the speaker. A speaker is provided for producing audible output. A microphone is provided for receiving acoustic message input and producing analog audio signals from the acoustic message input corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf. The microphone may be an electret, condenser, piezo, carbon, ribbon or plunger coil microphones. A suspender may be attached to the housing and adapted to facilitate hanging the apparatus.

A circuit is contained within the housing and configured to operate in a mode of operation indicated by the play-record mode selector control. In record mode, the circuit produces and stores message data from the analog audio signals corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf. In playback mode, the circuit produces analog output message signals from stored message data corresponding to a selected one of the plurality of categories pertaining to golf, and transmits the analog output message signals to the speaker. A volume adjustment switch operably coupled to the circuit controls volume of the speaker. An indicator such as an LED indicator operably coupled to the circuit is adapted to signal a status of the device.

In another aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the control assembly operably coupled to the housing and adapted for enabling operator selection of one of a plurality of categories pertaining to golf comprises a plurality of switches. Each of the plurality of switches is assigned to a category pertaining to golf. The switches are sized and spaced to allow an operator to easily manipulate each of them. Illustratively, the center of each switch is spaced about at least 0.5 inches from center of each adjacent switch and the space between adjacent edges of adjacent switches is about at least 0.25 inches.

In another aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a golf tip recording and playback process is provided. The process uses a portable audio digital recording and playback apparatus configured to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing categories according to principles of the invention. The recording portion of the process entails selecting a record mode, selecting a category, receiving audible sounds through a microphone and generating analog audio signals corresponding to the audible sounds for a determined period of time, converting the analog audio signals to digital audio data according to a determined sampling frequency, encoding the digital audio data, and storing the encoded digital audio data in a memory location allocated for the category. The playback portion of the process entails selecting a play mode, selecting the category, setting a desired playback volume level, accessing from the memory and decoding the stored encoded data corresponding to the selected category, converting the decoded data to analog output signals, amplifying the analog output signals, and transmitting the amplified analog output signals to the speaker.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 provides a front plan view of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 2 provides a back plan view of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 3 provides a side perspective view of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 4 provides a high level block diagram of an exemplary electrical subsystem of an audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention; and

FIG. 5 shows a flow chart of a recording and playback process for an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the figures are not intended to be drawn to any particular scale; nor are the figures intended to illustrate every embodiment of the invention. The invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments depicted in the figures or the types of footwear, shapes, relative sizes, ornamental aspects or proportions shown in the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the Figures, in which like parts are indicated with the same reference numerals, various views of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention are shown. An exemplary device is a portable handheld audio recording and playback device for use by golfers in recording and playing back tips with respect to strategies for play of holes on a golf course. The exemplary device has a rectangular handle which is approximately 1″ (depth)×0.5″ (width)×2.5″ (height), with a speaker housing of 1.2″ (diameter)×1.1″ (depth) mounted atop the handle. The front of the device includes a variety of category (i.e., golf activity) selection switches, a visual status indicator (e.g., LED), an opening for a built in microphone, and openings for a built in speaker. A control for record and playback modes is provided on the back of the device. A volume control with an on/off setting is side-mounted. Internally, the exemplary device contains digital recording and playback components and circuitry configured to be controlled by the externally mounted control buttons. The device is battery powered.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a front plan view of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device 100 configured to conveniently store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention is conceptually shown. The device 100 includes a handle 160 and a speaker housing 110. The handle 160 houses circuitry, batteries and related components to allow the device to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques and situations according to principles of the invention. The speaker housing 110 includes a plurality of apertures 115 to facilitate transmission of audible output from a speaker contained therein.

A plurality of controls 120-140 are provided on the handle 160 of the exemplary device 100 as means for selecting categories for recording and playback. In a preferred implementation, the controls 120-140 are momentary contact switches. Each switch is associated with a category of play, such as Full Swing 120, Pitching 125, Chipping 130, Sand 135 and Putting 140. The controls 120-140 are operably coupled to record and play circuitry contained within the handle 160 of the device 100. While five momentary contact switches are shown along the front surface of the handle 160 in FIG. 1, the invention is not limited to such types, quantities or positions of switches. Other types, quantities and positions of user controls may be utilized and are intended to come within the scope of the invention.

Advantageously, the preferred controls 120-140 are sized and spaced to allow an operator wearing a golf glove to easily manipulate them. In a preferred implementation, the center of each control is spaced d2 approximately at least 0.5 inches from center of each adjacent control, and the space d1 between adjacent edges of adjacent controls is approximately at least 0.25 inches. If the play/record mode selector switch 170 of the device 100 is set in play mode at or prior to commencement of a round of golf, then an operator may conveniently access a pre-recorded message by pressing one button, i.e., the easily-accessible switch corresponding to the category of play. It obviates navigating through a complex user interface and series of stored messages to access a particular recorded message.

As discussed above, in an exemplary embodiment, the categories include types of swings, including Full Swing 120, Pitching 125, Chipping 130, Sand 135 and Putting 140. A full swing is a complex rotation of the body aimed at accelerating the club head to a great speed. It consists of a backswing, a downswing, and a follow through. Full swings generally apply to tee and fairway shots. Pitching is an approach shot from between approximately 20 yards to 100 yards from the green intended to land the ball onto or near the green. Pitch shots are usually hit with any club from a six iron to a lob wedge. Chipping is a low approach shot where the ball makes a shallow flight and then rolls out on the green. Chips are made with a less lofted club than a “pitch” shot in order to produce the desired flatter trajectory. Sand refers to a bunker shot, which is played when the ball is in a bunker (i.e., a sand trap). It resembles a pitch and is played with a sand wedge, a club with a wide base configured to skid in the sand. The bunker shot differs from other golf shots in that the ball is not touched by the club head, but is lifted with an amount of sand. Putting refers to the practice of hitting a golf ball on a green using a putter. During putting, the ball rolls on the ground, never becoming air-borne. While the foregoing categories are preferred, the invention is not limited to them. Other terminology for the categories, and other categories of golfing, may be utilized in addition to or in lieu of any or all of the aforementioned golfing categories, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Illustratively, categories named according to parts of the course or categories assigned meaning by the operator may be utilized and come within the scope of the invention.

An indicator 145 is provided on the handle of the exemplary device 100 to signal status of the device. Any visible indicating element suitable for signaling the status of a portable battery operated electronic device may be utilized. By way of example and not limitation, a light emitting diode, incandescent lamp, visual display screen, or any other visual display means may be utilized.

A microphone 150 is provided in the handle 160 of the exemplary device 100 to convert sound into an electrical signal. In a preferred embodiment, an electret microphone, which may include an integrated preamplifier is utilized. However, other microphones, including, without limitation, condenser, piezo, carbon, ribbon microphones or plunger coil microphones may be utilized.

A suspender component 105 is provided on top of the speaker housing 110 to facilitate hanging the device 100. The suspender component 105 may comprise an eyelet, u-shaped band, hook or other component through which a hook, support strap or the like may be engaged to suspend the device 100 from an object.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a back plan view of the exemplary audio digital recording and playback device according to principles of the invention is provided. A play/record mode selector switch 170 is provided. The switch is operably coupled to record and play circuitry contained within the handle 160 of the device 100.

A cover 165 for a battery compartment within the handle 160 is also provided. The cover 165 is removable to allow access to the compartment. In a preferred embodiment, the cover 165 is slidingly engaged by the handle 160. The battery compartment is configured to contain one or more batteries, such as (but not limited to) three AA size batteries. The contained batteries supply electrical power to the record and play circuitry contained within the handle 160 of the device 100.

Referring now to FIG. 3 provides a side perspective view of an exemplary audio digital recording and playback device according to principles of the invention is provided. A volume adjustment switch 155 is operably coupled to the record and play circuitry contained within the handle 160 of the device 100. The switch 155 is configured to control volume of the speaker contained within the speaker housing 110. The switch 155 has high, low and off positions. By way of example and not limitation, the switch may be configured as a slide switch with three discrete settings (e.g., high, low and off), or as a fader (i.e., slide potentiometer) infinitely adjustable from high to off settings, or as a rotary potentiometer infinitely adjustable from high to off settings.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a high level block diagram of an exemplary electronic subsystem of an audio digital recording and playback device according to principles of the invention is shown. The electronic subsystem includes circuitry and components to store and play audible messages pertaining to specific golfing techniques. The circuitry and components interface with the switches 120-140, indicator 145, microphone 150, volume adjustment switch 155 and play/record mode selector switch 170 of the device. The electronic subsystem preferably includes an integrated digital sound circuit 410, such as, for example, a Winbond® ISD 170 ChipCorder®, which provides an integrated single-chip, multi-message voice record and playback device, and suitable interface and control circuitry. A record duration may be preset within a determined range, such as 20 to 60 seconds. A sampling frequency may be set within a determined range such as 4 kHz to 12 kHz. The integrated circuit 410 may include an on-chip microcontroller, oscillator, microphone preamplifier with Automatic Gain Control (AGC), nonvolatile memory, one or more filters, a speaker driver/amplifier, volume control and current/voltage output, an analog to digital converter (ADC), a digital to analog converter (DAC), and other components. Electrical power is supplied by one or more batteries 430.

The play/record mode selector switch 170 is configured to set to Record and Play modes. The circuit 410 is configured to cause the LED 145 to flash when Record mode is selected. The circuit 410 is configured to commence recording when a momentary contact switch 120-140 corresponding to a category, such as Full Swing 120, Pitching 125, Chipping 130, Sand 135, or Putting 140 is selected. Additionally, the circuit 410 is configured to cause the indicator (e.g., LED) 145 to illuminate steady, without flashing for the duration of recording. Audible sounds received through the microphone 150 during recording generate analog audio sound signals. Optionally, the analog signals may be pre-amplified and filtered by the circuit 410 before further processing. An analog to digital converter (ADC) within the circuit 410 converts the analog signals to digital audio data according to a determined sampling frequency. The circuit 410 then encodes the data into a determined compressed or uncompressed format. The circuit 410 then stores the encoded audio data in a memory location allocated for the selected category. A location in memory allocated for each category, such as Full Swing 120, Pitching 125, Chipping 130, Sand 135, or Putting 140, may be defined by a start address and an end address in the available memory. As an alternative to reserving and allocating certain memory locations to certain categories, the circuit 410 may store message data in the next available memory location and associate that location, whatever it may be, with the selected category. The circuit 410 stops the recording event at the end of the determined recording duration, upon which the circuit 410 causes the LED 145 to flash again to indicate that recording is completed.

The circuit 410 is configured to play a message previously recorded for a category, when the play/record mode selector switch 170 is set in Play mode, the volume control 155 is set to an audible playback volume level, and a switch 120-140 for a category of interest is momentarily selected. The circuit 410 is configured to access stored message data corresponding to a selected category from the memory location allocated to the selected category. The circuit 410 is also configured to decode the stored data. Then, a digital to analog converter (DAC) in the circuit 410 is configured to produce analog output signals from the decoded data. An amplifier in the circuit 410 is configured to amplify the analog signals. The circuit is also adapted to transmit amplified signals to the speaker 420, which converts the analog signals to audible output.

The invention is not limited to the above-describe exemplary circuit. Rather, the above-describe exemplary circuit is intended to represent a broad range of digital recording and playback components and circuitry configured to record, store and play messages for determined categories of golf in accordance with principles of the invention. All such circuits and components are intended to come within the scope of the invention.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a high-level flow chart of an exemplary recording and playback process 500 according to principles of the invention is conceptually illustrated. First, the device is set to either record or playback mode, as in step 505. To record a message, the play/record mode selector switch 170 is set to Record mode and the indicator LED 145 flashes, as in step 5 10. The operator then selects a category (i.e., a golfing activity), such as by pressing a momentary contact switch 120-140 corresponding to the category, e.g., Full Swing 120, Pitching 125, Chipping 130, Sand 135, or Putting 140 categories, as in step 515. When an activity is selected, the indicator LED 145 will illuminate steady, without flashing for the duration of the record event, as in step 520. Audible sounds received through the microphone 150 during the recording period will generate analog audio sound signals. Optionally, the analog signals may be pre-amplified and filtered before further processing. An analog to digital converter (ADC) then converts the analog signals to digital audio data according to a determined sampling frequency. The digital audio data is then encoded and stored in a memory location allocated for the category, as in the recording step 525. The recording event will automatically stop at the end of the determined recording duration, as in step 530, upon which the LED 145 will flash again to indicate that recording is completed, as in step 535. The steps of recording a message may be repeated for the same or another category in a like manner, as in step 540. In a preferred embodiment, prior saved message data is replaced with new message data.

To play a message previously recorded for a category, the operator moves the play/record mode selector switch 170 to Play and sets the volume control 155 to a desired playback volume level, as in step 545. Then the operator selects an activity such as momentarily pressing a switch 120-140 for the category of interest, as in step 550. The stored encoded data corresponding to the selected activity is accessed from the memory location allocated to the selected category and decoded. A digital to analog converter (DAC) produces analog output signals from the decoded data. The analog signals are then amplified and transmitted to the speaker 420. The speaker 420 converts the analog signals to audible output, as in the play step 555. The process of playing a message may be repeated for the same or another category in a like manner, as in step 560. If the desired message has been played and no repeats or additional messages are desired, the process ends, as in step 565.

While an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described, it should be apparent that modifications and variations thereto are possible, all of which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum relationships for the components and steps of the invention, including variations in order, form, content, function and manner of operation, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. The above description and drawings are illustrative of modifications that can be made without departing from the present invention, the scope of which is to be limited only by the following claims. Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents are intended to fall within the scope of the invention as claimed.





 
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