US teen builds laser-based automatic baseball umpire to become better pitcher
There is an endless debate on use of robot umpires to replace or assist on-field umpires to call ‘ball or strike’ in baseball. That however has not stopped a 13-year-old Virginia-based soon-to-be eighth grader from developing an automatic umpire to help him and other young baseball players to become better pitchers. There are thousands of kids across the United States who play baseball at some level; unlike most of them content with the present facilities, Nick Anglin built himself a laser-equipped umpire called Strikey Sensors that indicates a ball or strike.
The invention created to eye the perfect pitch, is fitted with 11 lasers horizontally and 7 lasers vertically – this in order to create a perfect 28-in strike zone. The grid of lasers and built-in sensors are programmed to tell the pitcher if it’s a ‘ball or a strike.’
Explaining how the contraption works, Anglin says,
You stand in your backyard, set your right distance, throw your ball through, and it has to break one laser horizontally and one laser vertically and a light illuminates if you get a strike.
Anglin was struck with the idea of developing an automatic umpire, to train at pitching the ball correctly, at the maker camp last summer. After a year of hard work at building and programming the contraption, Anglin is now being recognized for his invention. The teen has earned a list of awards. He has won the Student Entrepreneur of the Year award, and the Strikey Sensors even got a shout out from first lady Michelle Obama.
Anglin has the final prototype of his baseball umpire ready and is now looking for investors and entrepreneurs to take his invention further and sell it for about $120. Not sure if he is looking at crowdfunding the Strikey Sensors.