Category Archives: Camera-Based Systems

Field testing the motusTHROW

We went up to SmartKage headquarters in Tyngsboro, Mass., and put the sleeves on Nate, a local high school junior. We then fired up Motus Global’s bullpen mode – first in the new motusTHROW app, and then in the legacy mThrow app. At the app’s direction, Nate threw a mix of fastballs, curveballs, and changeups. A voice from the iPhone instructed him which pitch to throw, whether to throw from the windup or the stretch, and what part of the strike zone to aim for. Each of the two sessions consisted of 21 pitches, simultaneously tracked by SmartKage’s PITCHf/x system.

Read the rest on Beyond the Box Score

Testing the Axe Bat’s claims

Collaboration with Jeff Long and Dan Kopitzke

To date Baden Sports, the parent company of Axe Bat, says it has backed up these claims through ergonomic and biomechanical research. The most extensive study on their product, completed by a team at UCLA, exemplifies much of their support for these claims. You can read the results of that study as it applies to the claims above on their website here, and you can also read more details from the full study here.

We wanted to take it a step further though, performing an independent study in a real world setting. Specifically, we wanted to look at whether the Axe Bat stood up to the performance claims that they make.

Read the rest on Baseball Prospectus (my first article there!)

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New technology unveiled at Winter Meetings, ABCA conference

Sixteen of the innovations presented were named Best of Show by a panel assembled by Collegiate Baseball. Among the winners were Diamond Kinetics for the BatFitter developed with DiMarini; HitTrax’s Video Capture and Analysis Module, combining video with their camera-based data capture and simulation system; Pocket Radar’s Pro Radar System, designed to integrate through a USB port; and the Radar Tee, which integrates Doppler radar into a hitting tee to measure swing speed and ball exit velocity.

Read the rest at Beyond the Box Score

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Combining Technologies to Measure Swing Development

As hitters develop, their mechanics evolve over time into a swing that both shares many commonalities with other players and is unique to their own game. But tracking a player’s progress on that journey to a consistent swing has always been tricky. Scouting and video analysis can give players a sense of how repeatable their mechanics are, but these are expensive, time-consuming, and limited to players at the highest level, whom we would expect to already have the most consistent mechanics.

Enter technology. Technological developments, including inertial bat sensors and camera-based ball tracking systems, should make it possible to develop a quantitative measure of consistency readily available to a wider range of players, with a wider range of abilities. This will allow young hitters to better measure their progress while also giving scouts and coaches a tool to judge prospective players.

In this article, we look for a way to quantify that relationship between consistency and hitter quality. We measured over 1,500 individual swings from 25 hitters, ranging in age from Little Leaguers to NCAA Division 1 players. We also collected different kinds of swings from each hitter, having each player hit off a tee and a pitching machine, with the goal of hitting first for power and later for contact.

Read the rest in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2016

(Collaboration with Dan Kopitzke, K-Zone Academy, Apex, NC)

MLB teams demo new tech during fall instructs

MLB teams use the fall instructional leagues (“instructs”) to try out new technologies they are considering purchasing. Organizations get to use their minor league talent as guinea pigs, rather than their stars. And tech companies get more access to players than they would during spring training or the regular season, when their schedules are much more regimented.

The result is a who’s who of baseball-related companies making their way to the Arizona and Florida. Over the past year, deCervo, Motus Global, SmartKage, andZepp all reported spending time at fall instructs, and that’s just the companies I’ve personally written about. Motus brought their pitching sleeve — later officially christened the mThrow — to last year’s fall instructs, where they reported metrics such as arm slot, arm speed, and elbow torque to coaches during game action.

Read the rest at TechGraphs

Scoutee pairs handheld radar gun with smartphone app

With no statistics available from his national team days, and no video or scouting reports available to him, Uhan couldn’t make an impression on his would-be college coaches. He ended up attending the University of Ljubjana in the Slovenian capital, and his baseball career ended. As a lecturer in the school’s faculty of economics, Uhan was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and found inspiration in his former passion. He soon after partnered with fellow faculty members who specialized in electrical engineering (especially radar systems), and they began developing what would become Scoutee.

Read the rest on TechGraphs

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SmartKage helps scouts, teams evaluate players

“It’s analogous to a physical SAT,” Scannell says. “And if you take it multiple times, just like the SAT, we combine your best scores in each area. It’s not about consistency, it’s about capability.

Once the explanation is over, a few taps on a touch screen start the automated measurement process. The system has been designed to be completely automated. Aside from tapping “next” on the touch screen, no human intervention is required, though Scannell adds the occasional explanatory detail or words of encouragement.

Read the rest at TechGraphs