Senior Spotlight: Dylan Soong

Senior Dylan Soong poses in front of the school library.

Vincent Tsai, Staff Writer

Bullseye after bullseye, senior Dylan Soong consistently hits his targets both inside and outside the shooting range. Soong has been an archer for the past nine years, shooting for the HSS Sports Academy and ranking sixth in the nation this year as a male cadet recurve archer. Outside of the shooting range, he is an accomplished software developer and seasoned science fair participant. Soong has consistently placed in the mathematics and software category of the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, winning first place in both 2019 and 2020 and third place in 2021. Soong is now creating an artificial intelligence-powered app for archers, hoping to hit the bullseye in the AI industry.

Soong first developed the prototype of a wrist-worn device that could track the release of a shot during his freshman year, driven by the goal to enhance archery form and technique using AI. 

“In real-time, it could be used to predict whether my release had good or bad form,” Soong said. “The release is a fast movement in the backhand when I shoot, a very important aspect of archery technique.”

This initial technology worked by transmitting data from an accelerometer to a laptop, which would then be assessed by AI algorithms. Later, the AI program was developed into an object recognition system that could identify crucial body parts for archery, replacing the previous accelerometer used in his programs. After finding success in science fairs, Soong made the decision to incorporate his program into a mobile app called Archery Vision that could be used to assist archers all over the world without the need for an external wristband. 

“I began thinking of this app idea shortly after my last science fair project, around February of 2022, when I was pondering what I wanted to do the following year,” Soong said. 

Fast forward to October 2022, Archery Vision is now a functional app available for download on the Apple App Store. 

“[The app] is a relatively new thing,” Soong said. “My user target audience are archers who know the basics of good form and want to improve their own without needing a coach watching at all times.”

When developing the project, Soong experienced many setbacks that he had to overcome, one of which was implementing his algorithm into an IOS app. It took about three weeks to come up with a viable solution. After that, Soong had to figure out how to allow users to replay their shots, which involves having to constantly store a several-second cache of video data while also clearing out the supply of video data every once in a while to prevent storage problems. This took an additional four weeks to complete. The rest of his summer was spent creating an appealing user interface, fixing bugs and getting Apple’s approval to launch on the App Store. 

However, even after all the testing and bug fixes, Soong plans to continue to improve Archery Vision. 

“I am planning to make more updates in the future too,” Soong said. 

The most recent version of the app includes numerous features in addition to the initial replay of the shot that can assess the user’s form. It includes a slow-motion feature, as well as a feature that allows the user to manually drag through the video of the user’s shot. The algorithm can assess the likelihood of a successful or unsuccessful shot with a confidence rating by including tracking joints.

With the goal of helping archers with shooting form and technique, Soong reached out to Ashe Morgan, the owner of Online Archery Academy, one of the biggest online archery coaching sites in the world.

“The app is currently being evaluated by Morgan, but the last thing I have heard is that he really likes it and is going to be showing his students as soon as he can,” Soong said.

Since the app was released on the webstore, Soong and his teammates from HSS Sports Academy have been using it to help them improve their form. Archery Vision has even been used by Olympic athletes such as Hyang Soon Seo, the first Korean female Olympic gold medalist in history.

“Using the app forces users to see their mistakes,” Seo said.

Soong hopes the app will help archers from all over the world, but Soong’s father, Mr. Albert Soong, has even recognized the value of his son’s AI technology beyond archery.

“The app could potentially be used in other sports like golf or basketball for analyzing swings or shots,” Mr. Soong said.

With additional development and improvement, Soong could develop an app that could support all types of sports, aiding athletes everywhere. Soong hopes to develop and work on his Archery Vision app with the goal of assisting others as he takes his technology far beyond the bounds of a local science fair.

Check out Soong’s website here: