The Punchline

Baseball pitching robot is not ready for the big leagues

Katharine Crnko Apr 21, 2011

Meet PhillieBot, the one-armed, three-wheeled robot that threw out the first pitch of the Brewers-Phillies game yesterday as part of Science Day festivities at Citizens Bank Park.

The robot was created by University of Pennsylvania students Jordan Brindza and Jamie Gewirtz. In less than two months, the engineers fashioned PhillieBot from a Segway, adding a robotic arm, a third wheel, a pneumatic cylinder to power the pitch and a computer brain, which can control the pitch’s velocity and trajectory — according to the Associated Press.

And yet, baseball has always been a game of the heart — not science.

Phillies Fans Boo Baseball Tossing Robot:

According to Twitter reports, the pitch traveled only 40 miles per hour, and bounced almost 10 feet before home plate. So it may be a few years before a robot winning the Cy Young.

The technical error was met with boos from Phillie fans. Good thing the Phillies have a strong bullpen this year.

Image courtesy of LA Times

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.