Throwing a baseball at speeds of up to 100 plus miles an hour places a lot of stress on the ligaments and tendons of a pitcher’s arm. In fact, Major League Baseball (MLB) teams pay out a total of about $54 million to injured pitchers every year.
Three engineering students set out to find a solution. What they’ve come up with is an electronic compression shirt that shows promise of making it to the big leagues.
Oftentimes, when a pitcher gets tired, they will try to overcompensate for this fatigue. Their throws become more inconsistent and additional stress is placed on their arm.
The compression shirt developed at Northeastern University is designed to analyze the real-time performance of a pitcher as the game progresses. It has sensors located in the lower back, forearm and bicep. These are linked to a software program that measures the movement and acceleration of the throwing arm. The monitor can show when a pitcher is becoming fatigued and would help coaches to decide if a pitching change is needed.
The next step is to develop a wireless version.
As of April 2010, three MLB teams have shown an interest in the device.