It tracks fielders for definitive defensive analysis
By Bjorn CareyPosted 02.12.2010 at 10:13 am 12 Comments
This could be the year that baseball-stat freaks finally crack the "Derek Jeter enigma." A panel of coaches has awarded the New York Yankees' shortstop four of the past six Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence. That drives statisticians nuts, because nearly every statistical model ranks Jeter's defense below average.
But evaluating fielding is baseball's hardest math. There are just too many unknowns in a play. How much ground did Jeter cover? How fast was the ball moving? In essence: How unlikely was it that he'd catch the ball?
This off-season, the broadcast-tech company Sportvision will install a new player-tracking camera system into ballparks that could finally help produce accurate defensive statistics.
We write about Dysons high-tech vacuums a
lot, and today I got a chance to meet the man behind the machines, Mr.
James Dyson himself. He was in town to show off his super-fast hand dryers
(which we blogged about last
year), but I was more interested in the motor inside the dryer, which
doubles as the powerhouse of the DC12
vacuum sold in Japan.
This brushless electric motor, controlled by a
computer chip, is about half the size and weight of a standard vacuum motor,
but it can spin three times faster and create more suction. And because it
has a computer chip in it, it can do all sorts of other things that you
wouldnt expect a vacuum to do—like talk on the phone.
Dyson said that when
the DC12 rolls off the production line, its chip is packed with product
data, like the kind of testing its undergone. Then every time you use the
vacuum, the chip updates itself with the number of times youve used it and
some performance stats. If you ever call customer service, you just hold
your phone up to the vacuum, and the chip transmits info as a sound, like a
fax machine. This often gives customer service enough details to diagnose a
problem right away, without you having to reel off serial numbers or
remember the minutiae of your vacuuming difficulties.
As Dyson explained,
this is a low-tech way of getting the high-tech connected appliances that
weve all been waiting for.—Lauren Aaronson