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Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 04/20/2011

Robot will throw out first pitch in Phillies-Brewers game


Seems harmless enough, right? (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Inquirer)

Updated at 1:26 p.m.

Relax, humans. PhillieBot bounced his ceremonial first pitch, according to Adam McCalvy, who covers the Milwaukee Brewers for MLB.com. He needs to work on his mechanics.

Filed at 7:20 a.m.

Don’t think of it as a terrifying glimpse into the future. Think of it as a new form of intelligence for Phillies fans to boo.

Something called PhillieBot, a one-armed, three-wheeled robot designed by engineers at the University of Pennsylania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies play the Milwaukee Brewers today on Science Day in Philadelphia.

The bot, built in about two months by Jordan Brindza and Jamie Gewirtz, consists of a Segway with a robotic arm and third wheel, a pneumatic cylinder to power the pitch and a computer brain to change velocity and trajectory.

As scientists always do just before their experiments backfire and the earth is engulfed in flames and Keanu Reeves must rescue it, there are assurances that there’s nothing to fear. The bot chucks the ball at a non-Strasburgian 30 or 40 miles per hour and, remember, has one arm and three wheels. What could possibly go wrong? (See: Skynet.)

By  |  01:20 PM ET, 04/20/2011

 
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