In baseball, the pitcher’s job is to throw the ball in such a way that the batter can physically hit it, but is unable to. The ball has to pass through an imaginary window that the better can reach, but that’s the only real rule. So pitchers utilize a number of different techniques to make the ball more difficult to hit. That can be a simple as throwing it really fast, or as tricky as spinning the ball so it curves in the air. This baseball, however, can change its own trajectory in midair using a jet of compressed gas to fool the batter.
This “Fart Ball” was designed and built by a Japanese man who guys by the username Human Controller, and who also created the amazing self-solving Rubik’s cube that we featured last year. Just like with that project, this Fart Ball is an everyday item that has been reinvented using technology. There is a small tank of compressed gas inside of the baseball, and that can be released through a outlet port to change the course of the ball while its soaring through the air. The pitcher holds a remote to trigger the gas jet, so they can fire it at the optimal time to trick the batter.
It was built by cutting open a standard baseball and removing everything inside. Then a 3D-printed frame was inserted into the skin that holds all of the components. Those include the compressed gas tank salvaged from an airsoft-style toy gun, a solenoid to open the valve on the tank, electrolytic capacitors to energize the solenoid, a wireless remote module, and a CR2032 battery to power that module. The remote has its own wireless remote module and battery. The 3D-printed frame is surrounded by gel tape to keep it in place and to absorb shocks. As you can see in the video, it does a very good job of changing course unpredictably — though it probably violates MLB rules.