Last night, the first-ever telerobotic pitch was thrown at a major league baseball game. The game was in Oakland, but the pitch was thrown 1,800 miles away in Kansas City. And the pitcher was a 13-year-old boy named Nick LeGrande, who is suffering from a dangerous blood disorder called severe aplastic anemia. LeGrande had been in Little League until the diagnosis. Now his health prevents him from attending games.
The project was orchestrated by Google, which has been conducting its high-speed Google Fiber experiment in Kansas City, agency Venables Bell & Partners and Deeplocal, which built the robotic system that enabled the pitch. The team set up a mini-stadium at its Kansas City headquarters, where LeGrande threw his pitch. A pitching machine sat on the pitcher’s mound at the Oakland Coliseum and was able to follow LeGrande’s movements via a Google app. LeGrande was able to watch on a screen as the robot released his ball and sent it shooting toward A’s pitcher Ryan Cook. See the results in the video above.
[Images: Travis LoDolce | Oakland A’s | Google Fiber]