Robot to throw out first pitch at Phillies game

Apr 20, 2011

(AP) -- PhillieBot for Cy Young? It's unlikely.

But the one-armed, three-wheeled robot, designed by engineers at the University of Pennsylvania, will throw out the ceremonial first before Wednesday's game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers as part of Science Day festivities at Citizens Bank Park, said Evan Lerner, a spokesman for Penn's engineering school.

The pitching robot has been in the makings for a month and a half as Penn engineers Jordan Brindza and Jamie Gewirtz assembled parts and wrote software in their spare time, Lerner said.

They started with a Segway, gave it a and added a third wheel. They also gave it a pneumatic cylinder, which delivers a burst of compressed carbon dioxide to power the pitch. The robot's computer brain can be tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory.

On Monday, Brindza and Gewirtz took PhillieBot out to the mound for its final test, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. After the press of a button, the robot's reared back and then moved toward home plate; at the top of its delivery, it flicked its mechanical "wrist" and shot the ball forward.

The ball appeared to be traveling no more than 30 or 40 miles an hour, the Inquirer reported. But that was by design, since the Phillies didn't want the pitch approaching Major League speeds.

The team's head groundskeeper, Mike Boekholder, told the newspaper that he has been assured the machine won't tear up the playing surface.

Nevertheless, he doesn't see a future for PhillieBot in the team's star-studded rotation, which features reigning Cy Young award-winner Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

"I know some teams are a little pitching-challenged," Boekholder said. "But we certainly don't have that problem."


Explore further: Posture affects infants' capacity to identify objects, study finds

0 shares

Related Stories

How pitching changes little leaguers' shoulders

Oct 04, 2007

At this year's Little League World Series, new rules for the first time forced players to limit the number of times pitchers could throw the ball, and coaches had to strategize how pitchers were used more carefully.

Applying Newton's Laws of Motion to Baseball Pitching

Apr 07, 2009

The April 2009 edition of Mechanical Engineering magazine profiles Mike Marshall, the former major league baseball hurler who teaches a pitching methodology based on Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion.

The psychology behind athletic success

Oct 29, 2010

The pressure on World Series hitters is immense. It might not have looked that way in game one as hitters battered each team's ace pitcher, especially the previously untouchable Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff ...

Recommended for you

A robot prepared for self-awareness

8 hours ago

A year ago, researchers at Bielefeld University showed that their software endowed the walking robot Hector with a simple form of consciousness. Their new research goes one step forward: they have now developed ...

Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Mar 28, 2015

The robotic revolution that transformed warfare in the skies will soon extend to the deep sea, with underwater spy "satellites," drone-launching pods on the ocean floor and unmanned ships hunting submarines.

Festo has BionicANTs communicating by the rules for tasks

Mar 27, 2015

Germany-based automation company Festo, focused on technologies for tasks, turns to nature for inspiration, trying to take the cues from how nature performs tasks so efficiently. "Whether it's energy efficiency, ...

Virtual robotization for human limbs

Mar 26, 2015

Recent advances in computer gaming technology allow for an increasingly immersive gaming experience. Gesture input devices, for example, synchronise a player's actions with the character on the screen. Entertainment ...

Robots on reins could be the 'eyes' of firefighters

Mar 25, 2015

Researchers at King's College London have developed revolutionary reins that enable robots to act like guide dogs, which could enable that firefighters moving through smoke-filled buildings could save vital ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Norezar
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
Why should it not approach ML speeds?
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2011
What, like automated pitching machines hadn't been invented before this?

http://en.wikiped..._machine

I don't see the significance.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.