Motus Wearable Sensors Bring Biomechanics Out Of The Lab And Into The Ball Park

Baseball has always been a sport driven by numbers, and with modern Sabermetrics, it’s even more so. Motus has developed a system using biomechanics to measure stress on a pitcher’s elbow or a change in batter’s swing. Today it introduced a new 5-sensor package, which brings this advanced technology out of the lab and onto the field.

With this package of sensors, which the company plans to release at next week’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Motus is bringing the ability to measure the biomechanics of a batter’s swing or a pitcher’s throwing motion to a smart phone. Previously, this capability was only available to players who could come into Motus’ lab.

Motus sensor and smartphone app.

Photo Credit: Motus

Last year, Motus introduced a one-sensor pack that fit into a pitcher’s elbow sleeve and could measure the stress on his elbow as he the threw the ball. This is particularly important today, as pitchers throw harder than ever before and there is an epidemic Tommy John surgery — surgery to fix the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the pitcher’s throwing elbow, Joe Nolan, CEO and co-founder at Motus told TechCrunch.

The founders of Motus came up with a way to measure the biomechanics of a pitching motion. Originally, it required the player come to a lab and get measured using a sophisticated set of tools and cameras, but they wanted to bring this technology to the field. With multiple sensors, coaches, trainers and medical personnel can work with pitchers on a regular basis and see differences in stress levels using measurements like forearm, hip and bicep speed right on a smart phone without needing state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.

As for batters, with a multi-sensor pack, they can get measured on a more regular basis and when they go into a slump, they can use actual data to see where their swings have changed. Players do this today by studying video, but using the Motus system, they could have hard numbers to measure more subtle mechanical differences.

I’ve been working with Motus the past few years at its biomechanics lab to gain better insights on the mechanics of my swing. A mobile system capable of allowing me to collect this type of information in the cage and on the field is very exciting,” Pittsburgh Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen, said in a statement.

The players can fit the sensors in their compression shirt, batting gloves and cleats. The company has created this package to be flexible enough that players won’t notice the sensors as they go through their normal workout.

Motus sensor system showing typical sensor placement in compression shirt, gloves and cleats.

The company recognizes their sensors are just one of many tools teams and players will use, but it’s hoping be a part of that tool box and give teams some real numbers to work with.

“The ultimate goal of this tool is to be sure these athletes stay on the field performing at peak level,” Nolan said. Eventually the company hopes to develop similar systems for other sports.