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Case Studies

The Need

Existing bowling alley pin fall detectors used moving mirrors and light beams to detect the pin fall data. The beams had to be adjusted to detect different types of bowling pins such as candle pins, duck pins, etc. Accuracy was not as high as with new technology, which measured the actual pin dimensions and locations.

Since a single beam was used, even in newer Charge Coupled Device (CCD) systems, the existing pin fall detectors could not measure pin dimensions. In addition, there was no easy way to check accuracy and repeatability against known standards.




MTSI developed a custom CCD camera and processor card to measure the heights of pins and to check for proper pin locations.

A liquid crystal display (LCD) calibration system was designed and produced. This system allowed the service technician to see actual pin fall data. An easy-to-use menu-driven setup program prompted the operator to make all adjustments.

A data-logging computer was also designed. The video pin fall detector data was compared to the mechanical switches and differences logged. Mitsi engineers could rapidly play back thousands of games and compare the video output with the mechanical switches.


Over 20,000 pin falls were compared with the switches, with results exceeding requirements. Certification was then applied for and received from the American Bowling Congress. The CCD camera and pin fall detector are now in high-volume production.