Having a larger display for the Calibur scoreboard is possible through cables and wirelessly. Depending on what device you own, the opportunities are various. Here’s a quick summary about the possible ways to extend your scoreboard to a second screen by cables!
Connecting Apple devices
First things first, you have to identify the ports on your device. This guide can help you to do so.
HDMI - if you have such a port, you'll only have to see if your desired screen has a matching input. If not, it is most likely that it has a VGA input, so what you will need to do so is an HDMI-VGA adapter.
If you are using devices powered by Android, you are likely to have either a micro-USB or a USB-C type of output. It's very important to check whether your device supports MHL, which is a technology needed to connect to an external TV or monitor via HDMI.
If it does so, all you need is the correct adapter (micro-USB to HDMI, USB-C to HDMI) - after plugging them in, you should be ready to go.
What is the firmware and why is it important? Here’s your quick guide to update your firmware for getting the most out of your wireless fencing experience!
The firmware is a software that runs on your Calibur pocket boxes. It is important to keep the Calibur application, as well as the firmware updated, because we are constantly working on making Calibur easier to use while adding more features and with each update, you will get more out of your device!
After connecting the pocket boxesan automatic message will pop up. If you’re not connected to the internet, it will ask you to be so - in the other case, it will show the current version of the installed firmware and the latest available one.
If your current firmware doesn’t match the latest version, you should tap “update”. Remember, for this, you have to be connected to a stable Wi-Fi network!
The update takes a few seconds and you can follow the progress on the screen. Don’t worry, if during the update, the LED on your pocket box goes dark - it means it’s in update mode.
Once the update is done, you can see the LED in green again. Restart the application, and you are ready to fence!
The aim of the Calibur system is to make fencing available for anyone, anytime, anywhere. In order to make this feature, we had to design a complex way of registering hits and transferring information.
Because of this, there are some, not so obvious ways in which Calibur differs from other scoring methods. Here, you can find a list of some elements that cause no problem while fencing, but sometimes are unusual to our users.
Most of the issues listed here can be avoided by testing your equipment in testing your equipment in full fencing uniform, in a realistic setting.
Bellguard for foil
With some equipment, bellguard distinction on foil has minor issues. We recommend that if you experience such things, turn on the switch for "register on-target hits for bellguard".
This also resolves the problem if you see that at some point, if you are sweaty enough (which means that your gloves are dripping wet), valid hits on you do not register as they should. This can also be resolved with a dry glove too though.
Bellguard for épée
One small bug that might occur is that if you test your épée's bellguard barehanded, while keeping the other weapon's point on it, it registers as valid. This is really easy to avoid, since in a realistic situation, since either putting on gloves or using a quick thrust never results in this error.
Speed of registering hits
If you find that registering hits is somewhat slower than it is with the traditional scoring machines, you can augment the speed by:
Turning off other Bluetooth devices nearby
Closing other applications that are making your mobile device slower
Turning off notifications
Deleting unused apps.
Things to pay attention to when testing foil
In some situations, you may experience peculiarities, but only in circumstances that are extremely rare during fencing, and in case they would occur, it’s probable that no points would be given anyway by a referee.
To avoid misleading test results,
DO NOT hit the lamés on the floor. Always wear full fencing set (gloves, lamés, plastrons) and test on a partner.
DO NOT touch the blade when testing. Make clean thrusts on your partners lamé.
DO NOT keep your tip on the opponents lamé. Make quick hits, like in a real bout.
+1 Hint for athletes: to eventually get better at competitions, you can do more besides training. Get an insight into your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly performance by using sports analytics tools - the most simple one is keeping a log about your bouts (on training and competitions too). Find out how Calibur's bout tracking system works and do everything you can do for that medal!
Keeping track of your results during trainings and competitions is essential to discover patterns in your performance and be aware of the things you have to pay attention to in order to become better at fencing and competing. Calibur offers a detailed log of your bouts to help analyze your performance against other Calibur users, so you can make the best decisions when planning your training. Here’s how!
Sign in to your account (or create one). You can do this by pushing the menu bottom on the screen, between the fencer icons and choosing “My Profile”.
After successfully signing in, you can save the results of your bout by tapping the upload icon.
You have to type in your opponent’s username to record the bout. After saving, your opponent will receive a “request to save the bout”. If they accept, the bout will be saved for them automatically in their log. In the other case, it will only appear for you in your log.
Track your bouts by choosing “My bouts” from the drop down menu.
You can select any bouts from your log to be deleted or exported to a .csv file, in case you want to have a chance to edit or analyze your results.
+1 Fun fact: Did you know that Calibur system comes with a free remote control for the scoreboard? Check our tutorial on Calibur Remote Control Mode!
Want to know who's the fastest in the fencing hall? Stop guessing, start playing - our Reaction Time Mode is already out to help you show your skills! Here's a quick guide on how to access it within the app.
If you don't already have it, get Calibur app from your application store (Appstore, Amazon Store, Google Play) After installation, connect your Calibur pocket boxes.
The Reaction Time Mode enables two fencers to compare their performance to each others'. Make sure that both of you are using the same type of weapon, both of your pocket boxes are connected to the app and you are at more or less equal distance from your targets (depending on how you want to contest - with an advance, a lunge, etc.).
Choose the Mode Selector on the top of the screen- we constantly add new modes and games to this section check out our other tutorials to know more. Switch to "Reaction time game (duel)".
Once done, by quitting the mode selector, you will be ready to test your reaction time and speed. Tap the middle of the screen to start a countdown from 3, after which the screen will turn blue at a random moment. This is your signal to strike. After both of you has touched the target, the screen will indicate who won with a little trophy icon and your time results will also be visible so you can keep track of your highscores!
For better performance make sure to close every other applications on your phone and update the app to the latest version. Remember that hits must be sent and processed via a wireless connection.The system performs the best on the latest devices, however any device can perform better by making sure to dedicate as much resources as possible.
Did you know it was possible to use remote controls for the Calibur scoreboard to start and stop the timer, add or deduct points, penalties, bouts and priorities? Here’s your quick tutorial on using the Calibur Remote Control Mode!
Once the scoreboard is set up, you will need a second phone or tablet. Download “Calibur Remote Controller” from your application store (Appstore, Google Play, Amazon Store), and open the application.
Push the top button in the “Calibur” app (mode selector) and enable remote control mode.
Make sure both phones are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
In the Remote Controller, type in the local address, shown on the screen of the “Calibur” app.
If you're done, you are ready to manage all the scoring on your smart devices!
Until we release the designated desktop version of our system here's a quick guide on how to to run the Calibur mobile app on computers. This tutorial will guide you through on setting up the Android system and Calibur app on your computer. Don't worry if you're not tech-savvy; just follow the instructions, and you'll have the Calibur system running on your PC.
We've tested this process on various PCs with successful results, but cannot guarantee perfect operation for every computer model due to the third-party nature of Android-x86. Please check our list of tested and verified computers.
You can download the manual in a handy PDF or follow the steps below:
Mac/MacBook with MacOS 11.0 (or later) and an Apple M1 chip
On a MacBook:
Launch the App Store app on your Mac.
Search for the app or the type of app you want like you normally do.
After performing the search, look at the tabs under the “Results for” heading. By default the button on the left ,”Mac Apps” will be selected. Select ”iPhone & iPad Apps”.
Last week we introduced the Calibur pocket box. It is once again a major leap in product design and features. Testing it is the last step before actual production.
The plan is something like this: 1.Build a very reliable, stable and accurate device 2. Use that basis to build on all the smart features in the application.
We ran a broad épée test back in November which served as a way to pinpoint the weaknesses, analyze the data and incorporate it into a new device. It’s worth summarizing the major takeaways. Today we’ll cover technical issues and how we addressed them:
Let’s jump start to connectivity. Connectivity is the bread and butter of a wireless system. You can only make wireless as good as the quality of connection is. It is judged by 2 factors: stability and latency. To put it more simply how often the connection drops and how much time it takes for a hit to display. The boxes we shipped in November had inconsistencies in both fields, so we put a lot of effort in fixing it.
A simple way to measure it is how far you can get without disconnecting? Mark a 15 meters strip every 5 meters (having the scoring at the middle of the strip means not any of the fencers would get farther away than 7m and in most cases, even much less), put the devices at each mark and note the results, then repeat with the device in the backpocket, then again while covering it, then with walls in between, then underwater in a tin suit… on each and every phone.
In general Apple devices disconnected much sooner than the ones with Android, but we were able to improve on both systems. The development is pretty obvious on this part, we were able to drive down drops to practically 0. Tested on a dozen different, low-end to high-end phones and tablets connection always remained active. The challenge is now to find an otherwise well-functioning phone that fails this test and I’m happy to tell that we haven't find one.
The latency is a bit more complex issue. How long is good enough actually? We found that the threshold for unnoticeable delay to be around 100ms.
Latency consists of 2 parts: how long does it take to send the data and how long does it take for the phone to process it. Let’s check the first part, so back to the marked strip. Put 2 synchronous clocks to the pocket box and the phone and repeat the stability test but this time at each mark sending the same data packet.
The results are again very promising. The delay dropped significantly and stayed low up until around 15 meters. So now it is up to the phone to process it.
Getting the phone's processing time down proved to be harder to optimise than anticipated. But it’s clear that the delay is mainly caused by the application now which will perform much better after restructuring. More on that later.
The idea that accuracy is based on the utilization of the data pool is a sort of chicken-egg problem. To have people using the devices they need to be enjoyable. To be enjoyable people need to use it. So the deal with the broad épée test was that people would be using them even when it’s not so enjoyable and we will quickly follow-on with updates and by the end of the test they will become quasi-replacement for any system on épée.
After a very strong start, restrictions started to kick in in December basically everywhere and the incoming data started to slow down. But we still managed to get thousands of bouts and tens of thousands of touch data. Huge thanks to our testers for keeping up despite all the hurdles! Two things became clear: 1. That the data will be not sufficiently big with the current model (it's not just a matter of the total volume but the constant flow, to make comparison after every version) and 2. that we certainly underestimated how much work it will be to maintain a system and to develop a new one parallel. So we moved forward and put the focus on incorporating the existing data into the next version.
The goal was to make accuracy high enough so that fencers will enjoy using the devices in training sessions and the rest of the data will come much easier. The 2 major questions in accuracy are: does it go off when it shouldn’t and do we need calibration to avoid that? We were able to improve tremendously on both aspects.
How-it-works grey box:This is actually the most complicated part. The touches are validated by a model dependent on the electric properties on the weapon. To put it simply we measure these properties, gather them in the cloud where machine learning algorithms process them. Then the validation model is updated based on the new data and feeded back to devices through the application. Instead of measuring one property in the previous iteration now we do 3 and the machine learning fetches those together.
TLDR: The general direction is very clear latency is down, accuracy is up. We are getting through the 3rd wave (so far) of the pandemic and with local clubs shut down, it's more tricky to find the ways for sufficient testing. In our testing the system works well in 90-95% of the cases. So the job for the AI is to close the remaining gap particularly on rare cases. Global testing will start next month with the goal of finding the outlier cases. As soon as the data feed start to improve again so will the system.
In the next posts we will cover the general feedback and future features but for ending watch this video of a short bouting in the office.
Product evolution #2
We nicknamed the project “wire eater” among ourselves so I will refer to the devices asWE versions. The plan was set in motion: ship WE-1, incorporate feedback and develop WE-2 within 3 months. The goals for WE-2: make the app cross-platform (Android and iOS), get bellguard-grounding-accuracy to 90-95% on épée and deliver over 100 devices for the clubs to test. In other words a broad beta test for WE-2. We planned the testing to take place in November.
The sprint started by mid-August and the first clubs buying WE-1 planned to restart fencing in September. We agreed to deliver for the reopening. For the first few weeks development and production went simultaneously, but delivering a product for actual customers was very exciting. We finished just in time:
Some pictures from a training session @ PSE. The kids had fun, and we gathered valuable insights.
Néhány kép a PSE edzéséről. A gyerekek jól érezték magukat mi pedig sűrűn jegyzeteltünk.
The kids intuitively started to use our products really enjoyedthemselves
In the meantime we made a detailed roadmap for WE-2 with the 3 goals in mind as above. Let’s get through them one by one.
Making the app cross platform
It shouldn’t take particularly precise planning. We take what we have for Android and replicate it for iPhones, right? Well, Apple strictly controls everything and why wouldn’t that be true for wireless devices. If we want to connect something to iPhones we need to use a wireless chip approved by Apple. If you had to guess whether we used one like that or not, where would you put your money, and why on not? WE-1 only supports épée and does not have any grounding capacity, but it has a very stable and fast connection with the phones. That part was fine tuned already. Changing the chip means to throw all that away, and restart.
Getting accuracy over 95%
Bellguard grounding should work 9+ times out of 10 in test environment. Our model is based on that a larger data pool is needed to operate. How would we get that? Obviously it’s not an option to gather that at the clubs every time we change something. So a lot of nights went like this:
999 green bottles on the wall, if one green bottle should accidentally fall, 998 green bottles on the wall…
Both of the goals turned out to be an uphill battle especially in the given timeframe. All the new wireless chips turned out to be either too slow or dropped connection too easily with the phones. Every time we tested out something in the lab and took it to a real training session it completely failed. Special thanks to OSC and their fencers for letting us do our it-worked-yesterday-I-swear show twice a week. The connection drop proved to be a very stubborn issue, basically disrupting every other test we tried to run.
OSC helped a lot, sharing their space to test
Producing 100 pieces
We were approaching the end of October. The clubs who signed up for testing were all set, waiting for their devices, we just finished the new enclosure design and for the 1st time the application was approved on both platforms.
It's much more convenient to connect the yellow penguin than a QR code
But the connection issues still stayed with us. We had only a week left to finish and we put our bets on a last resort solution in changing the antenna design. We urgently needed a plan B and getting the devices out of the pockets made the connection slightly better.
Desperate times call desperate measures
I shouldn’t get into details about the things we tried on the last weekend in a rush to find a way to attach them to the body. The new antenna design, though far from perfect proved to be above the threshold and we decided to give it a go.
We’ve made everything ready and after an intensely laborious week with 3 hours of sleep on average we tested, packed and labelled all the packages ready for shipping. And the épée beta started.
Final touches before sending out beta test packages. (Nov.11.)
Utolsó simítások mielőtt kiküldtük a beta teszt csomagokat.
As I mentioned, I think it’s worth getting a brief look back on the evolution how we got towhere we are today. Picking up the story from where we left off: Our team had just formed. More or less with the skillset diverse enough to build a hardware we had a lot of questions. What should we focus on? What are the milestones to set? Who are the customers?
We decided that we should enter a startup competition and present the concept to a jury. It would provide 2 things for the project: Firstly, it’s an external commitment that forces us to build and deliver something in time. Secondly, there will be some guiding feedback. So we did exactly that, we built “something”.
Meet the “thing”, our very first prototype. Banana for scale
I shouldn’t get into nuances, like the main board being cardboard or the fine crafted details of the blue duct tape keeping the whole thing together. However it did prove a few things. It was able to send a signal to a phone whenever the tip was pushed. In other words: we’ve built a scoring machine on very basic terms. And it was enough to push us to the second round of the competition. More importantly, what we’ve learnt from this experience is that you’ll always have additional features or fixes you want to finish before you “launch”, but actually putting something out there is really what starts momentum.
So preparing for the second round we needed to “commercialize” the thing. Shrinking it in size to fit in a box and basically to be usable for some sort of fencing. We’ve actually designed 2 models for this round. The better one was much smaller, had a rechargeable battery and had far better chips on it however it was so unstable we used the more basic but stable one. (Note that by stable I mean we needed to connect a headset to the phone because the device randomly scored sometimes. So the plan was to disconnect the headset while presenting, pray that it wouldn’t make any sound randomly, then reconnect the headset when we were done. Please don’t tell the jury).
Somewhere in the distance an industrial designer starts to cry
Our chances were weaker than the quick binder on the money clip holding the box together, but it worked! Or at least did not fail during the presentation. The performance earned us third place in the competition which gave us a great push. More importantly we had something that we could start to test on actual fencers.
Real life testing
So the next months were spent on incremental improvements, shrinking the size, going to fencing clubs and collecting feedback.
We visited 2 clubs a week, sometimes even more. Fortunately everyone was very welcoming and the general feedback was very enthusiastic. We got proof that the old way of scoring was really the pain that we understood it to be. Our two main goals were set:to shrink it to the size of 2 matchboxes, and to lay the ground for data gathering. We started to test basic AI models on the data. We went through a handful of iterations not very different from each other.
I'm glad we left the small coffin design on the left
Even though the app was only for Android it only worked for épée and no grounding feature was available, we had our first customer. A small club next to Budapest decided to order 10 pieces. Sadly we didn’t have too much time to celebrate as it coincided with the worldwide spread of Covid-19. With the clubs closed and most of the indoor activities restricted we didn’t see any other option but to suspend developments.
Few months went by, the restrictions eased and the world started to adapt to the new reality. We started to get more and more messages that wireless sets could be really helpful in order to maintain health standards. So we decided it was time to get back on the project.
First we put together a comprehensive plan. In 3 months we want to achieve 3 key goals: make the app available on Android and iOS, get bellguard grounding over 95% accuracy on épée, produce and send over 100 pieces of it to clubs. We will cover that in the next post.