Written by Paula Malins


Finding the sweet spot is every golfer’s dream. Creating a sweet-spot-o-meter would be a joy for equipment manufacturers. And, scientifically defining it is the focus of sport engineer Paul Lückemann’s current research.


What is the sweet spot?

The sweet spot is the tiny area on the face of a golf club that gives the greatest transfer of energy between the club and the ball, ensuring the best shot in terms of distance and accuracy. 

The complex dynamics of the club-ball energy transfer – club design, player technique, even weather conditions – makes calculating the sweet spot’s location hugely demanding.


Paul’s research

Paul is developing an intelligent system for analysing golf swing that will offer new insights into player technique and support innovation in golf club engineering – including pinpointing that elusive sweet spot.

His approach measured two key dynamic indicators (or points of contact between clubhead and ball) during impact by tracking the clubhead rotation.

Using a high-speed multi-camera system, he tracked a driver clubhead at 20,000 frames per second. To provide consistency and accuracy, the swings were performed by a golf robot at 45 metres per second – eight for both dynamic indicator locations to calculate the mean and standard deviation of the clubhead angular velocity (the rate at which it rotates during the swing and impact).

The resulting data were used to model and calculate the sweet spot in this scenario – and an algorithm for use with other types of clubs and swing, established.


Ongoing research

Paul is now working to deliver software that interfaces with an existing motion capture system to analyse golf swing and calculate relevant swing metrics.

He also plans to study the effect of clubhead speed and mass distribution on the sweet spot indicators which will pinpoint the sweet spot for any given golf swing.

Sweet news for golfers and sport engineers everywhere.


Find out more

More about Paul and his research


Read Paul’s research paper


Welcome to the 2021 Annual Report from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence. You can read here what our students and researchers have been working on this year, of great challenges due to the global pandemic. Despite that, there are great stories inside.

You can read the report about the Centre here. 

This Annual Report gives an overview of all the activities for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence for 2021. It includes information about our:

  • Cohort of students: graduated researchers, those wrapping up their degree now, and the active cohorts.
  • Training and Dissemination of Research events attended by our students.
  • Stories from our graduating students; their reflections on what their PhD journey was and how they experienced it.
  • Our Alumni: where they are now
  • Selected Publications
  • Advocacy of the Centre for Manufacturing and Digital technologies.  

If you have any questions about what you read today, or would like to know more, do not hesitate to get in touch. 

CertificateCohort 3 student Gergely Hantos took part in the Cambridge Spark Applied Data Science Bootcamp.

Gergely, who is based at Heriot-Watt and supervised by Prof. Marc Desmulliez, took part in the 6-months Cambridge Spark Applied Data Science Bootcamp. The course gave an excellent knowledge of the most relevant Data Science skills matching industry needs.

Each student had to carry out a one-month real-life project backed by industry partners that covered problem understanding, data cleaning and feature engineering, visualisation, model selection, training, evaluation and optimisation.

Gergely worked on a project for Entomics, a biological waste valorisation company that transforms organic waste into high value agricultural products using insect larvae as a unique bioconversion engine. The objective was to create a predictive machine learning model that optimizes the bioconversion by predicting the daily waste intake of the larvae.

Gergely delivered a solution that worked with so little prediction error that Entomics was able to use the output immediately. The outcome of this project has opened up a specialised software engineer position at Entomics.Presentation

A conference paper based on the work achieved was delivered for the First Symposium on Smart Systems Integration (SS1S) by Gergely on the 31st of August 2018 in Balatonvilágos, Hungary and is currently under review for publication in Periodica Polytechnica Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Cambridge Spark, the company delivering the course was also impressed by the work, thus they wrote a blog article about the project available here: Project Partner Case Study: Entomics that includes a video interview with Fotis Fotiadis, Co-Founder and CTO of Entomics.

Our cohort 4 student, Stephen Ward, recently attended the International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference.Venue 1

The 40th International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference was held in Honolulu, Hawaii from July 17-21, 2018. The theme of this year’s conference was “Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future”. The conference covered a range of diverse topics including cutting-edge research and innovation in biomedical engineering, healthcare technology R&D, translational clinical research, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, and biomedical engineering education.

Stephen gave us a summary of the conference:

During the conference I attended the “Engineering and Medicine in Extreme Environments Workshop”. The workshop presented world-leading experts in varying research fields ranging from engineering and medicine in diving, space, tactical forces and other extreme environments. Many themes were discussed with the overall aim to enhance human comfort, performance and survival in extreme environments. This workshop was particularly relevant to my research area, and provided an excellent opportunity to increase my awareness of the work being completed by other researchers, as well as providing great opportunity for networking.

In addition to partaking in the workshop I also attended a range of interesting and informative presentations and mini-symposia as part of the main conference proceedings. The thought provoking topics helped identify some further areas of interest which will be useful in my own research.


Shaun Smith of cohort 4 recently spoke at Dynamics Days Europe 2018. Dynamics Days Europe is a series of major international conferences that provides a forum for developments in the interdisciplinary research of nonlinear science. The conference is hosted in different locations in Europe each year, and this year Loughborough University welcomed delegates in fields including physics, engineering, biology and mathematics to discuss their research.

Shaun contributed a talk on how numerical continuation can be applied to complement engine calibration. He provides a brief overview of the talk and his experience at the conference:

"My talk was centred on how tools from nonlinear dynamics could be applied to complement the process of “engine mapping". Engine mapping is the process used by manufacturers to understand the behaviour of a system by relating inputs (e.g. throttle & torque) to outputs (e.g. speed & air pressure) by running desktop simulations at almost every possible combination of inputs. For larger systems with multiple inputs and outputs, this process quickly becomes very computationally expensive, so my supervisors and I have been working on an alternative approach to this process which combines tools from nonlinear science and numerical continuation. As well as offering an efficient overview of the system, we show additional benefits these tools can offer by providing insight about the dynamic behaviour of the system that would be very difficult to obtain through engine mapping alone.”

“Having joined the CDT almost exactly a year ago, Dynamics Days Europe 2018 provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the research undertaken in my first year. Presenting our approach to researchers in the field of nonlinear science, viewing talks on a variety of different topics and discussing the innovation of nonlinear dynamics with delegates were valuable experiences for me, and I look forward to attending future conferences on nonlinear science."

Dynamics Days Europe 2019 will be in Rostock, Germany September 2-6, 2019

For more information on Dynamics Days, please visit http://www.dynamicsdays.org

For details of the 2018 conference, see http://dynamicsday2018.lboro.ac.uk/index.html

Cohort 4 researcher,Temi Jegede, attended the 'High Performance Powertrains' Seminar hosted by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers which took place on the 22nd of May in Birmingham. 

We asked Temi to give a summary of the proceedings.

The chairperson, Professor Jamie Turner from the University of Bath began setting the scene by summarizing the aim of the seminar which was to highlight promising technologies that better optimize the performance of automotive powertrains. This was followed by the introduction of speakers from companies such as Ford, Mahle, Cosworth, AVL amongst many others.

Paul Freeland, a principal engineer at Cosworth spoke on the techniques employed by Cosworth to maintain the highest possible specific power output while minimising fuel consumption. Higher specific output in this case relates to increased engine speed and increased cylinder air charge which directly proportional to the amount of torque the engine can produce. With regards to fuel efficiency improvements, Cosworth have implemented techniques to maximise compression ratio while minimising frictional, pumping and heat losses. Some of these include dual cam phasing, upvalve systems, which help to reduce pumping losses, Variable displacement oil pump, roller-element valve actuation, Plasma-Sprayed Cylinder Bores which help to reduce frictional losses. Most of the benefit was made due to cylinder deactivation. This involves the temporary deactivation of one or more engine cylinders in light load operational regions. All of this together leads thermal efficiencies greater than 30% in more than 80% of the operating space of the engine.

Speakers from both Ford and JLR described approaches that were similar to those taken by Cosworth with minor differences.

It was also interesting to see the use of software simulation to reduce engine development time, Massimo Gallbati, a project manager at Enginsoft was called up to discuss the use of virtual prototyping in engine development. He discussed the use of Enginsoft’s computational fluid dynamic software which is useful for building a virtual prototype of the combustion process which can in turn provide detailed predictions of emissions, cooling system amongst many other engine subsystems. This is possible because the software allows for very detailed modelling of liquid behaviour. Gaseous fluids are not supported as there is difficulty in modelling the behaviour of an unknown mixture of gases. Research will have to be done in this area to advance this concept.

Several talks were also given on emissions and how tightening regulations are currently affecting trends in powertrain development. Hartwig Busch from the Coventry University Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (FEV) was introduced to discuss some of the challenges emissions regulations pose. More focus is being given to CO emissions as it is being monitored under the EU6d regulations. The trend suggests that CO limits will become more stringent and replace PN emissions as the major emission challenge. The aftertreatment available on production vehicles can curtail the emissions to desired levels but this method is only effective with full combustion cycles at stoichiometry and significant degradation in performance has been observed when the AFR (lambda) is outside stoichiometry. A major factor in this problem is driver behaviour, as more aggressive drivers tend to make quick changes to engine speed and torque which increases the emissions. FEV is using virtualization of calibration to tackle emissions regulations. This involves the use of concepts like Hardware in Loop simulations, road virtualization and driver behaviour modelling. Other strategies are also employed with the goal of keeping lambda at 1 such as water injection and variable compression ratio.

Overall, this seminar offered informative insight into trends in powertrain development and highlighted the commitment of many auto manufacturers to the improvement of the internal combustion engine and powertrain as we are still decades away from full electrification.

Finally the chair and speakers held a Q/A session before giving their closing remarks.

Our cohort 2 researcher Athanasios Pouchias attend the Flow Processes on Composite Materials conference in Luleå Sweden from 30th May - 1st June 2018.

The conference was arranged by the Luleå University of Technology and Swerea SICOMP AB. It took place in June 2018 in the small and beautiful northern city of Luleå, Sweden. FPCM 14 is part of a series of conferences covering the science and engineering of composites manufacturing. It provides a forum for scientists, engineers and designers from both academia and industry to exchange ideas, propose new solutions and promote international collaboration. Also, the conference covered topics from the challenges of graphene as a reinforcement to large-scale processing for composites with complex structures.


Fpcm 14

 We asked Athanasios to write about his experience at the conference:


“During the conference, I had the opportunity to present the work I had carried out during the first two years of my PhD studies. My research focuses on monitoring the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process which is one of the most promising available technologies for manufacturing large complex three-dimensional parts from composite materials. The RTM process is mostly used in aeronautical, automotive and wind energy applications, such as the manufacturing of wind turbine blades. In this conference, I presented the design methodology for the development of a flow sensor which will be placed to monitor the RTM process.”The main interest of this FPCM conference was the determination of porosity and the characterisation of the permeability of fabrics. A special workshop on the permeability measurements was held during the second day where there was an open discussion on the current technologies and measuring methods for calculating the permeability of composite materials.

The second day finished with an excursion to the Northern Arctic Circle. The Northern Arctic Circle is the ultimate place - from the North Pole - where the sun does not go down at summer solstice and does not go up at the winter solstice."


Arctic Circle


Our Cohort 2 student, Athanasios Pouchias, attended the NSIRC Conference 2018 in Cambridge which took place between 3rd-4th July 2018.

The National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI. NSIRC unites academia and industry, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University London and more than 20 other respected universities, as well as founder sponsors BP and the Lloyd's Register Foundation. The collaborating partners provide academic excellence to address the need for fundamental research, as well as high-quality, industry-relevant training for the next generation of structural integrity engineers.

“It was a great opportunity to present my work at the NSIRC Conference 2018 last week. Over 150 delegates were in attendance, with companies such as Rolls-Royce, Boeing and EDF Energy all represented. Also, attending were NSIRC’s academic partners, which included some of the UK’s top universities, along with researchers, TWI staff and fellow students. I had the fortune to be awarded for the best oral presentation of the 2nd year of my PhD studies.”




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