Back on April 20, 2011 it was opening day for many teams in Major League baseball which means stadiums around the United States were filled with excited fans waiting for that first pitch to be thrown. But fans in Philadelphia got a little more than they bargained for when a robot, with carbon fiber for an arm, threw out the first pitch.
This robot, also known as the Philliebot, was created by engineers from the University of Pennsylvania. Built in just under two months, Jordan Brindza and Jamie Gewirtz used parts of a Segway, added a third wheel, a robotic arm made out of carbon fiber and “a pneumatic cylinder to power the pitch and a computer brain to change velocity and trajectory.”
“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.”
While the robot sounds intense, it was only designed to throw 30-40 mph slowball for safety reasons. We will blame this detail on the flop the robot had. Not only did the first pitch not make it to home base, but Phillies fans booed this Philliebot right off the field. Take a look at the below video to see what happened:
The Philliebot may not be showing his face at another home opener anytime soon, but we absolutely love the engineer’s use of carbon fiber on the bots arm. Just goes to show you, you really can find carbon fiber anywhere these days!