At Scopus we have a singular mission, “to use leading-edge technologies to improve marksmanship in athletes, and turn shooting into a spectator sport.” When I began studying this problem over a decade ago, I realized an initial and necessary step would be to solve the scoring problem.
The scoring problem is summarized as the following. We must make scoring shots fast, accurate, and affordable.
Without solving the scoring problem, and delivering on all three aspects, shooting would never become a spectator sport. Thus, solving the scoring problem became our first company goal.
Prior to Scopus (formally named Shooter’s Technology) there was no such solution. Manual methods of scoring paper targets is laughably inaccurate and painstakingly slow. Really the only advantage it has going for it is that it is cheap. Other Electronic Scoring Target (EST) manufacturers got two of the three. Their systems are accurate and fast, but they then failed on the third requirement, their systems are priced well outside local and regional consumer budgets.
When we introduced the Orion Scoring System we came closer to achieving all three goals than anyone else. Orion was affordable, accurate, and worked reasonably quickly. Just not quick enough to count towards live scoring.
I knew then, as I know now, to solve the scoring problem we had to do what had yet to be done; develop an affordable EST. Only then, could the benefits of live scoring, accurate scoring, and instant athlete feedback expand down to the local club and regional levels. Thus, we invented Athena.
In our development of an affordable EST we relied on two things to achieve this goal, Commercial Off the Shelf parts (COTS) and our existing computer vision scoring technology.
By using COTS parts we are able to keep the design and manufacturing prices low. The hardware for both the DoW100 athlete Monitor and MM100 spectator Display are entirely COTS. On the NC100 and NC200 the frame, lift, and daughter boards are custom built, but the CPU, camera, and motor are all COTS.
We also leveraged our decade of experience using computer vision to score paper targets. The scoring algorithm in Athena is the same time tested algorithm used in Orion. We even leveraged the technology we developed using cheap mobile phone cameras to score targets within Athena.
The scoring problem requires a three part solution. Make scoring shots fast, make it accurate, make it affordable. At Scopus we are proud of being the first company to achieve all three. With it, we can now turn our attention to the remainder of the goal, to turn shooting into a spectator sport. Stay tuned to find out how we are going to accomplish this goal.