We can all agree that the best way for baseball players to practice their swing is when they’re facing a real pitcher. However, a pitcher’s arm is incredibly valuable to a team. They can’t risk a pitcher getting injured from overexerting their arm. What if there was a way to use the pitcher’s throw, without using the pitcher?
The simple solution is virtual reality. TrinityVR has created a platform it calls DiamondFX to create a virtual batting simulation. By combining the HTC Vive headset and attachable tracker with Sportvision’s PITCHf/x data, DiamondFX can create a virtual environment that replicates real-life pitchers.
If you have watched a Major League Baseball game in the past few years, then you have seen PICHf/x in action. This system has been tracking the velocity, trajectory, release point, and spin rate of every pitch thrown in a game. By accessing this data, DiamondFX allows players to swing at a perfect representation of a pitched baseball.
Before the Vive tracker, VR simulations involved swinging a controller to represent a bat in the virtual world. Even with attachable peripherals, there isn’t anything that can truly replace a baseball bat. The tracker is a small, puck-shaped attachment that turns virtually anything into a controller. By screwing it into the base of a bat, players can practice in a virtual world with whatever bat they choose.
As the player swings away, statistics are gathered and displayed immediately after contact is made with the virtual baseball. Data such as bat speed, launch angle, and exit velocity allow players to get a sense of their performance.
Outside of practice, DiamondFX also allows a new way to idebntify promising minor leaguers and prospects. By outfitting prospects with the headset, coaches can see how they perform against the best pitchers in the division.
“In some weird way, I think we’re a product that baseball wants and needs, and just doesn’t know it yet,” said Rahat Ahmed, co-founder of TrinityVR, in a statement to SportTechie. “They don’t know a product like ours exists.”
Currently, TrinityVR is still promoting the product for use in Major League Baseball.