Inertial Sensors for Baseball
UPDATE: Effective February 5, 2015, I am officially a Technical Advisor to Diamond Kinetics. All the descriptions and links at this site were posted prior to my joining the DK family. For the time being, I will not be providing any updates regarding the specific devices currently being marketed.
I have divided this section into three parts:
Introduction to Inertial Sensors
The Devices Currently Being Marketed
Combining Inertial Sensors with Ball-Tracking Data
- Using Wearable Sensors to Improve Performance, by Bryan Cole (@Doctor_Bryan), published Oct. 21, 2014 in Beyond The Box Score. This article is an excellent introduction to these sensors and what they are used for.
- A New Technology for Resolving the Dynamics of a Swinging Bat, by Kevin King, Jessandra Hough, Ryan McGinnis, and Noel C. Perkins, Sports Engineering 15, pp 41-52 (2012). This article describes in detail the use of miniatured inertial measurement units (IMU's), specfically accelerometers and gyroscopes, along with wireless technology to track the motion of the bat during the swing. This paper provides the foundation for the technology from which the Diamond Kinetics' SwingTracker device evolved. The authors are faculty and students in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of Michigan.
- Zepp Baseball: The main web site for Zepp Baseball
- The Science Behind Hunter Pence’s Powerful Home Run Swing, by Tim Newcomb (@tdnewcomb, published Oct. 22, 2014 in Sports Illustrated. This article uses Zepp to analyze the swing of Hunter Pence.
- Measuring Mike Trout and Giancarlo Stanton's Swing Plane with the Zepp Sensor, by Bryan Cole (@Doctor_Bryan), published Nov. 15, 2014 in Beyond The Box Score. This article looks at how Zepp is used to measure the swing parameters of well-known MLB batters.
- Diamond Kinetics' SwingTracker: The main web site for Diamond Kinetics' SwingTracker
- Pittsburgh Startup Diamond Kinetics Powers the Science of Hitting, an article in Sport Techie, published January 5, 2015.
- Diamond Kinetics' SwingTracker Released, by Bryan Cole (@Doctor_Bryan), published Dec. 9, 2014 in Beyond The Box Score. This article looks at how SwingTracker is used to measure the swing parameters.
- SwingTracker Tutorial, a collection of videos showing how to calibrate and use SwingTracker.
- Blast Baseball: The main web site for Blast Baseball
- Motus Sleeve: The main web site for Motus Global
- The Sleeve That Could Save Baseball: Exclusive Look at New MLB Technology, by Will Carroll (@injuryexpert), published July 2, 2014 in Bleacher Report. This article looks at how the wearable sensor Motus Sleeve might be used to help prevent pitcher injuries.
- Motus Sleeve Debuts at Fall Instructional League, by Bryan Cole (@Doctor_Bryan), published Nov. 17, 2014 in Beyond The Box Score. This article looks at how the wearable sensor Motus Sleeve is used to provide metrics for a pitcher's delivery.
- The Tommy John Solution?, by Lindsay Berra, published Dec. 16, 2014 in Sports On Earth. This article looks at how the wearable sensor Motus Sleeve might be used to analyze pitching motion with the goal of preventing UCL injuries.
Combining Inertial Sensors with Ball-Tracking Capability
A very powerful combination is to combine information about the batter's swing from the devices that attach to the knob of the bat with information about the pitched and batted ball. Here are some links to batting cage facilities than can provide baseball-tracking information.
- Field and Laboratory Measurements of Softball Player Swing Speed and Bat Performance, by Lloyd Smith and Jeff Kensrud, published in Sports Engineering 17, pp. 75-82 (2014). The authors show how that information can be used to learn important characteristics of the ball-bat collision.