Baseball pitching is a form of art – after all, plenty of psychology comes into play here, not to mention requiring to have the mad skills in order to fool the batter in front of you. What happens when you translate pitching skills over to a robot? Is it smart enough to vary its moves, sometimes so subtly that no two balls are ever the same? After all, if humans can figure out the pattern of the robot’s pitching as well as frequency, they will know how to better anticipate the unfolding situation.
Interestingly enough, PhillieBot, a robotic pitcher, will be debuting at the Phillies-Milwaukee Brewers game, being part of the promotion that the Phillies are currently organizing for Science Day at the Ballpark. Phillies co-ace Cliff Lee will be stepping up to the mound in due time, but we can safely say that all eyes will be on the PhillieBot and its debut before (presumably) Lee steps up to save the day.
Taking a mere 6 weeks to get PhillieBot up and running, the folks over at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory is one capable piece of machinery, mechanical wrist and all. The velocity of the ball is pathetic though at 30mph to 40mph, but we’re sure something can be done to remedy that in the immediate future to make it more fearsome.