Drawing strike zones out of chalk on walls is so 2014. This 13-year-old has created a high-tech solution.
One Virginia middle school student has invented a smart baseball training device for pitchers. During a Maker Camp last summer, 13-year-old Nick Anglin discovered that there was a problem for Little League pitchers learning how to pitch accurately in a strike zone. Whereas many players back in the day would simply draw a rectangular box out of chalk on a brick or concrete wall and then proceed to throw the ball at the makeshift target, this young Maker decided to take a much more high-tech route with the help of lasers and Arduino.
When asked at camp to pick a hobby and incorporate technology, it was a no-brainer for Angilino, who as a pitcher himself was always looking for a new way to hit the 28-square-inch strike zone in more game-like situations. To accomplish this, the Maker built a four by five-foot wooden frame equipped with sensors and several lasers controlled by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) — 11 lasers horizontally, seven vertically.
It works just like most other baseball backdrops, except that instead of being caught by a net, a red light illuminates as it makes its way through the grid of lasers denoting a strike. When it barely breaks any of the lasers, a green light flashes representing a ball. And should the pitcher miss the frame entirely, well, safe to say that’s not a strike.
In total, the project only cost Anglin about $67. Looking ahead, he hopes to enhance its design and begin mass producing the device.