Batter Up! Drexel's HUBO Robot Tosses Out First Pitch at Phillies Game
April 30, 2012
HUBO, one of Drexel's humanoid robots, threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies took the field against the Cubs on April 28.
Following forays into dancing, tai-chi, singing and playing the drums, Drexel’s adult-size humanoid robot, HUBO, made its sporting debut on April 28. The robot, which was programmed by students in the College of Engineering, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies' faced the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.
The pitcher is one of seven HUBO robots, created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), currently calling Drexel their home as part of a National Science Foundation-funded research project. Each robot is 1.3 meters, or about 4-feet, 3-inches, tall. They are fully actuated, which means that they have similar joints and movement capabilities to that of a human, including arms, legs and hands with fully functional fingers and an opposable thumb.
Students from Drexel’s College of Engineering developed the software to give HUBO its advanced functionality and were responsible for programing it to make the pitch. Since 2009 the HUBO research has been a collaborative effort between Drexel’s Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL) and the Music and Entertainment Technology Lab.
All seven robots were on introduced to the Drexel community on Feb. 20 at a showcase event to kick-off National Engineers Week. Since then, the robots have been trained to dance in response to a rhythmic beat and, most recently, perform the Beatles’ classic “Come Together” on musical instruments.
HUBO’s apperance on the mound was one of the culminating events of the Philadelphia Science Festival, a weeklong celebration of science and technology throughout the city. "Science Night at the Ballpark" was held before and during the Phillies’ 7:05 p.m. game against the Cubs. Dozens of exhibits and activities, located throughout the stadium, will allowed fans to learn about the science behind sports. Displays featured topics ranging from the physics related to successful sports performances to the materials used in various sporting equipment.