A F#$&ing Robot is Going to Throw Out the First Pitch at Today’s Game

Robot_kidsWe made… a pitching machine

Fuck. They’re becoming self aware.

If you spent five minutes reading yesterday's Philly.com article about the robot, PhillieBot (get it?!), who will be throwing out the first pitch at today's Phillies game, you will come away impressed with how advanced it is:

The robot's computer brain can be infinitely tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory, and its arm is a sleek, programmable instrument that also can be used in surgical and manufacturing applications. Moreover, PhillieBot can move.

The engineers started with a Segway, one of those motorized, two-wheeled vehicles sometimes used by tourists and police patrols. They lopped off the top handlebar portion and replaced it with the robotic arm, made by Barrett Technology Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. They added a third wheel for stability.

On top of the arm, the engineers attached a "hand" – initially a store-bought plastic scoop used to play jai-alai. But by game time Wednesday, the plan is to have replaced the plastic hand with a lighter, stronger carbon-fiber model made by Christian Moore, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering.

Finally, just underneath the hand, the group attached a pneumatic cylinder, which delivers a burst of compressed carbon dioxide at just the right instant to snap the wrist forward and release the ball.


Have you ever been to the batting cages? That goes on there.

Writer Tom Avril was quick to point out that it was much different that one of those dime a dozen adjustable arms which allows you to switch speed and trajectory of a thrown object at merely the press of a button… only, it’s not.

Even though it (she?) will be sporting an eye tomorrow, PhillieBot will not be able to aim its own pitches. Instead, all aiming will be done by a human, per the Phillies’ request. So yeah, it’s a pitching machine.

I can’t wait until Geico Caveman day. My slingshot-enhanced wheelbarrow carbine-action, 200 shot, cage model ace with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time will own PhillieBot. I shall name it Cliff, because he's science, yo.

I know I’m going to get a significant amount of nerd hate (the worst kind, no doubt) in the comments, but I fail to be impressed.

I vowed not to post this until someone made a robot replace Kyle Kendrick joke. Sure enough, reader Daniel Spencer came through at 3:22:


All of this is part of Science Day at the ballpark. There will be animals visiting from the zoo, an explanation of ball physics, and other exhibits. Those events are sure to please children, who will be in school when the game starts at 1:05.

Yeah, I’m an asshole.

Video after the jump.


17 Responses

  1. What if it throws a sweet 95+ mph slider with a 104mph fastball, then can it replace kendrick??

  2. I thought this was supposed to be State of the Art.It’s not even wireless remote. Boo!!!

  3. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m worried. If this thing came from Skynet, then we’re ALL in deep doo-doo! The robot overlords are starting their campaign to take over the world!

  4. UPenn successfully made a catapult.
    They should replace the umpires with that computer that was a contestant on Jeopardy a few months back.

  5. I found it funny that the Phillies had these two setting up their robot outside of the park. Nevermind bringing the van inside and accommodating them, just put everything together right outside for anybody to take your stuff or haggle ya with questions.

  6. So basically two nerds who never played a sport think they invented something we’ve been using in the cages for years. HA

  7. Maybe they could explain the physics behind the Phillies offense…wait…nevermind…

  8. And just in time for the date that Skynet was supposed to take over in the Terminator films.

  9. Thank you for writing this. Phillie Bot is garbage. I cannot think of anything less exciting than a stupid robot slingshot being hailed as a superior invention.

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