Building A Better Robot

Last century people worked to build a better mouse trap. This century, the goal is to build a better robot. That is the mission Chunghsin Lee is on with his latest creation, the robotic golf caddy.

I prefer to walk, and know a lot of other people who prefer to walk,’’ said Lee, an avid golfer who is chief executive and chief designer at Wakefield-based FTR Systems Inc., which this week launched the CaddyTrek – an electronic caddy built with robotic technology – at the PGA Expo in Las Vegas.

“I still carry my own bag, but it becomes a chore,’’ said Lee, who lives in Lynnfield. “So, I thought that maybe a cart following you will be a good idea. I know there’s one company in Australia that has a follow-you cart, but it’s huge. It’s about half the size of a riding cart. I wanted to do one that was affordable and compact, so you can put it into your trunk and go anywhere you want. We started with an idea to build a cart the size of airline carry-on luggage. We’re probably a little over that at this point, but it’s still small enough and light enough to fit in your trunk. Not on an airline, but you could check it in.’’

While creating the CaddyTrek, Lee also built a better version of the electronic golf bag trolleys/caddies on the market. Using a device clipped to the golfer’s belt, CaddyTrek follows the golfer at his or her walking pace, starting and stopping when the golfer does, and – in the words of the product website – allows the golfer to “walk the course relaxed and totally focus yourself on the game.’’ Sensors keep it from bumping into trees or other obstructions, and a remote control can be used to bring the caddy closer when it’s time to pull out a club.

Photo from CaddyTrek

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