Philadelphia Phillies Sign Robot Pitcher?
Apparently, having the best pitching rotation in Major League Baseball isn’t enough. In order to address that desire for more, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed a new member to their pitching staff, one that could change the balance of power in baseball for years to come. Instead of depending on delicate, organic entities to collect pitching wins, it’s clear the Phillies are looking towards the robotics industry with the addition of a pitching robot to their roster.
The newest edition to the Phillies roster shouldn’t have a hard time adjusting to its new surroundings, seeing how the Phillies already have a robot as a pitcher:
So this new robotic pitcher shouldn’t be anything new to Phillies fans.
Er, that’s not quite right, is it? Wait? You mean the robot pitcher is merely throwing out the first pitch and not joining the already-killer pitching staff? That is different then. Let’s try this again:
A pitching robot developed by Penn University’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab will be throwing out the first pitch for Phillies/Milwaukee Brewers game later this afternoon (April 20th). According to the institute’s release, the machine is essentially a modded Segway vehicle that’s been fitted with an additional wheel and a pneumatic pitching arm. Additional details of the pitching robot, courtesy of Penn University:
The team modeled the robot’s custom scoop on a toy jai-alai cesta (link added by editor), fashioning it out of carbon fiber to reduce its weight. After programming the arm’s throwing motion, they plotted the ideal release point for the ball. When the arm reaches that point, the piston on the wrist fires, causing the scoop to snap forward and deliver the pitch.
“You know what they say, it’s all in the wrist,” says Kumar.
The robot will also be outfitted with a motion-tracking camera “head” that could be used to locate the strike zone on a given batter, though it will only be tossing to the Phillie Phanatic. The robot will roll itself onto the field atop a modified Segway platform.
Whatever the case, with the presence of Roy Halladay, the pitching robot should feel right at home with the Phillies. Who knows, maybe the thing will become sentient and decide its own fate, instead of being limited to ceremonial pitches with the club mascot. Keep in mind, Skynet was supposed to become self-aware on April 19th, a day before the pitching robot
takes over Philadelphia while hunting for Sarah Connor makes its professional debut.
Coincidence? Are you willing to take that chance?
Lead image courtesy of James Cameron and the Terminator movie.