Google Fiber and Major League Baseball made history when they fulfilled a Little Leaguer’s dream of throwing a first pitch at a Major League game. Nick LeGrande, a 13-year old baseball fan who suffers from a rare life-threatening blood disorder, “virtually threw” the first pitch at an Athletics-Yankees game, thanks to a Web-robotics solution designed by Venables Bell & Partners and developed by Deeplocal.
A Web-connected pitching robot was set on the mound of the Oakland A’s stadium, and Nick was 1,800 miles away at a specially prepared mini-stadium inside Google Fiber’s Kansas City office. The mini-stadium even had real grass and a dirt mound. A special sensor monitored Nick’s pitching motion and sent a signal via Google Fiber to the robot in milliseconds, and it threw the baseball to A’s pitcher Ryan Cook who was waiting at the home plate. After the successful first pitch, Cook walked up to the robot and spoke into the attached camera that “virtually connected” them as if Nick was standing with him on the mound.
For this first-of-a-kind project, Influxis provided ultra-low latency streaming that connected the motion sensor and the pitching robot. Influxis also custom configured the media server network to ensure that the streaming, for both video and audio, was optimized for Web-robotics. In conjunction with the optimized server network, Influxis’ proprietary low-latency video player was displayed at the A’s stadium Jumbotron and the Google Fiber office, allowing telepresence in less than 500 milliseconds (half a second).
When Google Fiber, MLB, Venables Bell & Partners, Deeplocal and Influxis came together for this event, it became a rare moment where technology elevated the human spirit to hope for something better, fulfilling a boy’s dream and rallying for a cure.