On the Radar: Robot pitcher, Obama at Facebook, air travel rules, more storms
A robot will precede Phillies ace Cliff Lee to the mound Wednesday in Philadelphia.
April 20th, 2011
06:39 AM ET

On the Radar: Robot pitcher, Obama at Facebook, air travel rules, more storms

It may not be able to break into what many consider the best pitching rotation in baseball, but PhillieBot will certainly be a major-league phenom when it throws out the first pitch at Wednesday afternoon's Philadelphia Phillies game.

PhillieBot, a combination Segway, robotic arm and jai-alai-like scoop is the brainchild of the director of Philadelphia's city science festival and the handiwork of a group of University of Pennsylvania engineers, according to a report on philly.com.

Science festival director Gerri Trooskin came up with the idea for the robot to headline Science Day at the ballpark. She pitched her idea to Penn's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory, where engineers Jordan Brindza, Jamie Gewirtz and Christian Moore designed, built and programmed the robot.

PhillieBot will be firing to home plate at 30 to 40 mph on Wednesday, well below the what the guys who'll take the mound later can throw. But philly.com reports  "the robot's computer brain can be infinitely tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory."

No word on whether a water tank for a spitter could be an accessory.

Obama at Facebook: President Barack Obama visits Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, on Wednesday, for the second of three town hall-style meetings on the economy.

During his first event Tuesday in Virginia, Obama emphasized what he called a balanced approach that both cut spending and increased revenue by ending tax cuts for the wealthy; maintained or increased spending in education, research and infrastructure development; and continued reforms launched in last year's health care bill of the Medicare and Medicaid government-run health systems for senior citizens and the poor and disabled.

Obama will also include four political fundraisers during his stop in the Bay Area, the San Franciso Chronicle reports.

New rules for airlines: The Department of Transportation issues new rules Wednesday to address a litany of airline passenger gripes, including requiring full disclosure of additional fees; limiting tarmac delays; reimbursing bag fees if luggage is lost; and increasing compensation for bumping.

Severe weather threat: The threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes continued Wednesday to hang over portions of the Midwest and South, after another round of violent weather pummeled parts of both regions the day before, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service early Wednesday placed portions of eastern Kentucky, southeast Ohio, southwest Virginia and West Virginia under a tornado watch until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee remain under a tornado watch until 10:00 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

So far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths from the latest round of storms, according to emergency management officials and law enforcement.

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Filed under: Air travel • Barack Obama • Baseball • Politics • Science • Segway • Sports • Technology • Travel • Weather
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Filth-a-delphia

    Why not a robot?? Did you happen to see roy-LOSER-halliday pitch last night?? Not good!! A robot would be an improvement to the City of Losers....

    Remember- 2 world series championships in 129 years-– Again-- NOT GOOD!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • snugglebot

      Wow... someone needs a hug his morning!!

      April 20, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • yo

      boo this man


      April 20, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Man you are annoying... NOT GOOD!!!

      April 20, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Haters

      Cubs have only two rings and last win came in 1908. Cubs are OLDER than the Phils. Does it really matter? Not beating up the cubs just stating a fact. Let me guess, you are a bandwagon fan? You own a hat and team jacket from how many clubs?

      April 20, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • PhillyFan

      Jealous Much???

      April 20, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      Mommy's calling you from upstairs in the kitchen; your Froot Loops are ready.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • hater-ade

      Spoken like a true Mets Fan....

      April 20, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bbech

      There are a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. TvNYC

    I need a hug every morning haha. Have a great day people! Go obama!!

    Sean Hannity and Bill O'reilly you's a hater... Grow up and Sarah Palin gets life!

    April 20, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jed-i

    Filth- and where are you from? I'm sure it's a great place...quit hating! GO PHILS

    April 20, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Fish

    Ever been to a Philly game? I have a relative that plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. In the 2008 World Series we had to be escorted to a private room and guarded by security for fear of the Philly fans... There's brotherly love for ya! About as nice as Dodger fans...

    April 20, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • hater-ade

      Bat Boy does not count as playing for the team! Oh yeah and who won that series again?

      April 20, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. PhillySportsBlogs

    Philly has by far the best and most intelligent fans across this great land. Philadelphia expects only the best effort from our players! Go Phillies!!!!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Filet

    @Fish – I didn't know the Rays had fans. That's news to me.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Fish

      Not many that go to games LOL!, but yeh they do.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    I hope the DOT keeps up on the airlines to change more of the airline's sometimes heavy-handed behavior. With the rise of ticket prices, one would think that the companies would go out of their way to encourage more people to fly.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pedro

    I think it's juiced.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jmo

    I hate the headline writing done at CNN.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chipper'sChoppers

    Go Braves!

    April 20, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Itsame

    Good day to all from california, have a great n green day 🙂 cool robot, i dont care who built it

    April 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nichole

    Who cares about the robot.... Phifer is pitching! Go Phillies!

    April 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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    April 3, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |