The Lawman: Laser Measures

by John Roberts


Keeping up with the times

Technology impacts our lives constantly. Young people of today would not know what a cassette recorder was, or phone books, TV guides, pagers, typewriters or even FAX machines.

Umpiring equipment is no different. Some pieces of measuring equipment have been around forever others not so long.

Some pieces of umpiring equipment have become obsolete (telescopic rods and calibrated wedges). Law 54 deals with the minimum equipment that should be available to umpires to carry out their measuring tasks.

In September 2018, World Bowls approved the first laser measure (Bowlsline) for use in indoor bowls. Since then we have seen two other laser measures appear – Crackajack and Impulse. All three lasers have now been approved for use in all levels of competition by Bowls Australia.

Laser measures are not compulsory items for umpires or umpire kits but they become another option in the ways you can determine shot.

Bowls Australia recently published the following information to all State and Territories which will eventually filter down to clubs and officials.


Procedure for using Laser Measures

Laser measures in Australia are recommended for distances not less than 30cm to 5m. When the preferred equipment for a measure is the Laser Measure, officials should carry an alternative measure (e.g. string measure) with them in case the laser measure should malfunction. Like all measuring equipment officials must be efficient with its use before using it in an event.

All three lasers are approved for BA events and all other bowls competitions in Australia.


Safety Message

Players and officials should note that:

Injuries resulting from staring into the laser beam can include permanent damage to the eye and or subsequent partial or total loss of vision. Injuries from lasers can also occur when the beam is shone into the eyes of unsuspecting people. This can result in a ‘dazzle effect’ where the exposure leads to disorientation.

All laser pointers that are available to the Australian public must have a radiant power output of less than 1 milliwatt. Lasers with an output below this are a low hazard.

Players and officials should always be aware of the dangers of using a laser.


Instructions:

Crackajack Laser Measure:

  1. Secure any leaning bowls with chocks or wedges.
  2. Assemble the unit by placing the back plate in the cradle at the rear of the laser measure.
  3. Take your position behind the jack and place the target between the bowl and jack at about 1cm from the jack. Ensure the target is pointing in a straight line from jack to bowl. 
  4. Carefully move the laser target against the jack.
  5. Working from behind the bowl, place the laser measure between the jack and bowl, carefully positioning the laser measure about 1 cm from the bowl and ensuring it is in a straight line from bowl to jack.
  6. Press the red button twice to switch the laser on.
  7. Carefully move the laser measure against the bowl.
  8. Straighten the laser measure again if necessary, to position the laser beam so that it is pointing to the centre of the target. Be careful not to move the bowl.
  9. Press the red button again to record the distance.
  10. Follow the same procedure to position the laser target and measure for the other bowls to be measured.
  11. Make a decision as to which bowl is shot.
  12. Roll out the shot bowl and communicate your decision to the players.
  13. Turn the device off.

Impulse Laser Measure:

  1. Secure any leaning bowls with chocks or wedges.
  2. Assemble the unit by placing the laser measure in the base plate.
  3. Work from behind the bowl to be measured.
  4. Place the laser measure between the bowl and jack approximately one centimetre from the bowl and ensure the device is pointing in a straight line from bowl to jack. 
  5. Press the red button twice to switch the laser on.
  6. Carefully move the laser measure against the bowl.
  7. Straighten the laser measure again if necessary and position the laser beam so that it is pointing to the nearest centre point of the jack.
  8. Press the red button again and record the distance.
  9. Follow the same procedure to reposition the laser measure for the other bowls to be measured.
  10. Make a decision as to which bowl is shot.
  11. Roll out the shot bowl and communicate your decision to the players.
  12. If there is a dispute of 1mm or less, the β€˜Umpire Mode’ on the device can be deployed.
  13. Turn the device off.

Bowlsline Laser Measure:

  1. Secure any leaning bowls with chocks or wedges.
  2. Place targets against each bowl to be measured.  Working from behind the bowl, place the target between the jack and bowl, carefully positioning the target about 1 cm from the bowl and ensuring it is in a straight line from bowl to jack.
  3. Carefully move the target against the bowl.  Repeat this process with other bowls to be measured.
  4. Take your position behind the jack and place the laser measure between the jack and the bowl at a distance of about 1cm from the jack. Ensure the laser measure is pointing in a straight line from jack to bowl. 
  5. Press the red button once to switch the laser on. Straighten the laser measure again and position the laser beam so that it is pointing to the centre of the target.
  6. Carefully move the laser measure against the jack taking care not to move the jack.
  7. Ensure that the laser beam is pointing to the centre of the target and press the red button again to record the distance.
  8. Follow the same procedure to position the laser measure for the other bowls to be measured.
  9. Make a decision as to which bowl is shot.
  10. Roll out the shot bowl and communicate your decision to the players.
  11. Turn the device off.

So what does the future hold?

Technology will continue to impact and make advances on all aspects of our lives, including bowls. We need to embrace technological change, but also ensure we do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Ideas for the future may include using our phones as scorecards (doing away with the hundreds of thousands of cardboard cards) which would link directly to Bowls Victoria. This would do away with keeping cards, sending forms, and collating results.

Possibly a laser measure which would not require us to get down on the green. A robot to make our cups of tea or coffee at the break. A self-serve bar which is connected to our credit cards. The possibilities are endless.

The LAWMAN.

John Roberts
Chairman
Officiating and Laws Committee.