This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Using sensor data to assess the golf swing.

Subject: Computer Science and Informatics


The human eye system is closely related to cognitive functions such as perception and provides the easiest and the most accurate way to extract information from our visual environment for further processing.   Approximately 30% of our brain is used to process the information.  Eye movements typically happen because we are looking where our current task requires us to focus.

This PhD research will use senor technology to explore the different perspectives on how Quiet Eye (QE), defined as the “final fixation or tracking gaze located on a specific location or object in the visuomotor workspace for a minimum of 100 ms” (Vickers, 2007) can be used to retrain the golfers to better focus to allow their body to accommodate, retrain and improve in accuracy for golf.

The PhD study will build experiments using elite category 1 golfers to use 3D motion capture and Tobii Glasses to create a baseline, intervention and review of their skills to view and send golf balls to targets different distances way (50-150m).  This will allow for the data pertaining to ball, club and/or swing kinematics to be measured for 3D tracking using radar technology (e.g. TrackMan®). This would enable precise measurement of ball flight parameters, such as the angle and speed of the club head at impact, the launch angle of the ball and shot dispersion for various clubs where the scoring scenarios add the pressure to complete the task with the minimal dispersion from the targets.

The work builds on initial trials of capturing eye gaze using Tobii Glasses and integrating it the 3D motion capture system in the Rory McIlroy Golf Lab facilities.  The Rory McIlroy Golf Lab is a world class and state-of-the-art environment that will permit further work with Physical Activity and Health using sensor technology.  As a result, the findings will be analysed and create scenarios that will be tried with other non-elite golfers to retrain their eye, hand coordination and generate better focus leading to more consistent golf results.

Rory McIlroy Golf Lab:

Nikolaev, Andrey R., Pannasch, Sebastian, Ito, Junji, Belopolsky, Artem V., Eye movement-related brain activity during perceptual and cognitive processing, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, vol 8.

Vickers, J. (2007). Perception, cognition, and decision training: The quiet eye in action. Chicago, IL: Human Kinetics.

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £14,777 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University


As Senior Engineering Manager of Analytics at Seagate Technology I utilise the learning from my PhD ever day

Adrian Johnston - PhD in Informatics

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Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
25 to 29 March 2019


Apply Online


Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact supervisor

Dr Peter Nicholl

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