When baseball pitchers are practising, three of the main things that they try to improve are the ball's speed, trajectory and spin rate. Currently, one of the ways in which they measure these variables is through the use of imaging systems – although these can be expensive. A group of Taiwan-based entrepreneurs is now offering an alternative, in the form of the Strike "smart" baseball.
The ball itself is claimed to be the same weight as a regular baseball, along with offering the same center of gravity and surface texture.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Inside, however, it contains a shockproof inertial measurement unit (a combination of gyroscopes and accelerometers), a Bluetooth module, and a wirelessly-charged battery that is reportedly good for 12 hours of use per charge.
When the ball is activated and then thrown, those electronics record the speed, trajectory and spin, along with the ball's axis of rotation and the location at which it lands.
That data is transmitted to a free app on the user's iPhone, where it's displayed as both text and 3D animation. Stats are additionally stored in the cloud, so a user's pitches can be compared as they progress over time.
If you're interested, the Strike is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. If everything works out as planned, a pledge of US$79 will get you one. The estimated retail price is $129.