The Ohio State University Corporate Engagement Office

Back to All Technologies

Head and Gaze Tracking Device for Baseball Training

Engineering & Physical Sciences
Optronics / Photonics
College
College of Optometry
Researchers
Fogt, Nicklaus
Licensing Manager
Norris, Francis "Frank"
614-292-5503
norris.641@osu.edu

T2008-023 A software system optimizing head and eye movement tracking for baseball, softball, tennis, and more

The Need

In the game of baseball, pitches can reach 90 mph or higher; at this rate the ball will cross the plate in roughly 420 milliseconds. The batter will have 220-260 milliseconds to track the ball with their gaze before having to swing the bat. Hence the piece of advice; “keep your eye on the ball kid!”… A new study by Dr. Fogt indicates players primarily use their heads to track pitches. Dr. Fogt studied the head and eye movements of a group of NCAA Division 1 baseball players while tracking an incoming pitch. An observable trend arose in the fact players did not utilize eye movement to track the ball until it nearly reached the plate. Activities like hitting a baseball, returning a tennis ball, and saving a hockey puck are all incredibly difficult tasks; utilizing an appropriate combination of eye and head movement while tracking an object is pivotal to optimizing the player’s performance.

    The Technology

    Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Fogt, have developed a device that allows for the simultaneous tracking of the position of the eye and the head. The device can relate the overall gaze position to that of a pitched ball at any time after the ball begins its flight toward the batter. This data can be used to objectify the gaze tracking of pitched balls and can train an individual to use a more appropriate combination of eye and head movement in gaze tracking. The hardware consists of a pitching machine, an eye tracker specifically designed for sports studies, a head tracker, and an analog to digital converter computer board. The software is completely original and is able to synchronize the data from the hardware devices to calculate the gaze position of the eye and the error in the gaze position.

    Commercial Applications

    • Sport training:
      • Baseball
      • Softball
      • Tennis
      • Hockey
    • Sporting goods equipment

    Benefits/Advantages

    • Uses a software system that can incorporate data from multiple tracking devices
    • Can track both eye and head movement
    • Can integrate both serial and analog data at different sampling rates into two data streams