By Edward Cardenas
NOVI (CBS Detroit) – Tiger fans will get a chance to see a pitcher who can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph throw out the first pitch before Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.
Unfortunately for the Tigers’ bullpen, the pitcher is actually a teen-built robot named “Cyber Young.”
The 200-pound robot was designed and built-in 2012 by nearly two dozen high school students and their adult mentors who were part of First Robotics teams from across southeast Michigan.
“This is a program that helps kids all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade become interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers,” said Andrew Pospeshio, a sophomore at Novi High School who is part of the Frog Force First team. “We are really proud of being able to show (the robot) off to so many people, and we are spreading FIRST to a whole new audience who are sports fans.”
The robot, which was specially designed to throw out a baseball, has received a number of improvements during the past three years including a pressure transducer for better monitoring of the cannon pressure, a new baseball feeder, wheel encoders to improve driving, a dry ice smoke system and a directional antenna for better and more reliable wireless communications on the robot.
“FIRST is an amazing organization that truly offers the same competitive environment as baseball and other team sports,” said Eli Bayless, Director, Promotions, Detroit Tigers, in a release. “Teamwork, personal achievement, competition, friendship and the development of skills that will help kids later in their lives are all important parts of what makes FIRST teams, competitions and events so special. We’re excited to raise awareness about the opportunities that FIRST provides, and hope that bringing the kids back each year for our ceremonial first pitch will help do just that.”
This display of a robot from students involved in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) represents the work being done in over 40 percent of all Michigan high schools and places the state tops in the country in total high school teams competing in the .
“FIRST Robotics isn’t just about designing and building robots, it’s about inspiring young people not only to become active in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but to become leaders in those fields, to build their confidence, to help them have the brightest future possible,” said Novi head coach Ken Dominguez. “FIRST is about putting our young adults FIRST and giving them a huge head start in their chosen career path.”
A variety of FIRST Robotics displays will be will be on display in the Comerica Park main concourse near Section 120.
For more information about FIRST Robotics, visit www.usfirst.org.