Baseballs Are Getting Smarter

Robo-balls give pitchers and coaches an instant readout on a ball’s speed and rotation

ILLUSTRATION: MACIEJ FROLOW

By
Takashi Mochizuki

TOKYO—It looks and feels like a regular baseball. But the inside is packed with the same technology used in smartphones, which gives pitchers and coaches an instant readout on the ball’s speed and rotation.

If you thought the diamond was already drenched in data, get ready for the robo-balls coming out of Japan.

Tokyo-based smartphone app maker Acrodea Inc. started selling its “Technical Pitch” ball in September in Japan. And sporting goods maker Mizuno Corp., with help from a Toyota Motor Corp. group company, is preparing a similar product, called MAQ, for next spring. Both are going on sale in Japan first, with plans to expand later to other regions including the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan.

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