Sensors 2012, 12(9), 11933-11945; doi:10.3390/s120911933
Article

A Highly Miniaturized, Wireless Inertial Measurement Unit for Characterizing the Dynamics of Pitched Baseballs and Softballs

Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2350 Hayward St., Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 June 2012; in revised form: 23 August 2012 / Accepted: 24 August 2012 / Published: 29 August 2012
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Abstract: Baseball and softball pitch types are distinguished by the path and speed of the ball which, in turn, are determined by the angular velocity of the ball and the velocity of the ball center at the instant of release from the pitcher’s hand. While radar guns and video-based motion capture (mocap) resolve ball speed, they provide little information about how the angular velocity of the ball and the velocity of the ball center develop and change during the throwing motion. Moreover, mocap requires measurements in a controlled lab environment and by a skilled technician. This study addresses these shortcomings by introducing a highly miniaturized, wireless inertial measurement unit (IMU) that is embedded in both baseballs and softballs. The resulting “ball-embedded” sensor resolves ball dynamics right on the field of play. Experimental results from ten pitches, five thrown by one softball pitcher and five by one baseball pitcher, demonstrate that this sensor technology can deduce the magnitude and direction of the ball’s velocity at release to within 4.6% of measurements made using standard mocap. Moreover, the IMU directly measures the angular velocity of the ball, which further enables the analysis of different pitch types.
Keywords: inertial measurement unit; wireless sensor; baseball; softball; pitching; training

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MDPI and ACS Style

McGinnis, R.S.; Perkins, N.C. A Highly Miniaturized, Wireless Inertial Measurement Unit for Characterizing the Dynamics of Pitched Baseballs and Softballs. Sensors 2012, 12, 11933-11945.

AMA Style

McGinnis RS, Perkins NC. A Highly Miniaturized, Wireless Inertial Measurement Unit for Characterizing the Dynamics of Pitched Baseballs and Softballs. Sensors. 2012; 12(9):11933-11945.

Chicago/Turabian Style

McGinnis, Ryan S.; Perkins, Noel C. 2012. "A Highly Miniaturized, Wireless Inertial Measurement Unit for Characterizing the Dynamics of Pitched Baseballs and Softballs." Sensors 12, no. 9: 11933-11945.

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