At Phillies Game, Robot Takes The Mound

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A one-armed robot, called PhillieBot, threw out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday. Robert Siegel and Michele Norris have more.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The Philadelphia Phillies ace Cliff Lee has been called a pitching machine. Well, before Lee took the mound today in Philadelphia against the Milwaukee Brewers, an actual machine named Philliebot threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The occasion was science day.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Philliebot was built by students from the University of Pennsylvania robotics program. It's basically a modified Segway with a mechanical arm controlled by a human. At just the right moment during Philliebot's delivery, a burst of compressed carbon dioxide powers the ball toward the plate - in theory.

(Soundbite of baseball stadium)

Unidentified Man: The excitement continues now with Philliebot. A robot...

NORRIS: The Philly Phanatic, the team's giant, furry green mascot waited to catch the pitch. Philliebot wound its robotic arm up and delivered...

SIEGEL: A weak one-hopper to the plate. And Phillies fans showed the class they're known for.

(Soundbite of booing)

NORRIS: But we got a defense of that weak pitch from Christian Moore, one of the University of Pennsylvania's students who built the pitching machine. He said his team toned down Philliebot's fastball so as not to hurt the Phanatic behind the plate.

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