With Electrically Operated Or Actuated Indicator Patents (Class 473/455)
  • Patent number: 11123607
    Abstract: An exercise management and reporting system includes a weightlifting rack having a plurality of vertical members. Each of the vertical members include bar support brackets for receiving a barbell and weighted plate combination. Tracking sensors are positioned along the vertical members to track the movement of the barbell during an exercise. A control unit having a memory and wireless transmitter are provided along the rack. Weight sensors are positioned within each of the bar support brackets, and a wireless accelerometer is positioned along the barbell. The system also includes an exercise management application that receives the exercise data from the control unit and recommends and adjusts exercise workouts based on the received exercise data for each system user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 11, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2021
    Inventor: James Padgett
  • Patent number: 9808671
    Abstract: An exercise training system is provided having a system controller and a plurality of stimulant target units connected via a wireless network to the system controller. Each stimulant target unit has a light source providing light to stimulate a user, a proximity sensor providing an output of a distance between the proximity sensor and an object external to the unit, and means for providing feedback to the user to signal that the unit has been actuated by the user. The system controller includes a program for activating the stimulant target units in a sequence. The reaction by the user to the illumination is registered when the user brings a body part or other object to within a selected distance of the proximity sensor, this distance being programmable by the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 15, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Assignee: FITLIGHT SPORTS CORP.
    Inventors: Derek D'Andrade, Dennis Pedersen, Erik Veje Rasmussen
  • Publication number: 20140206480
    Abstract: An electronic home plate providing assistance to an umpire in determination whether a pitch results in a “strike” or a “ball”. The electronic home plate is implemented with eye-safe LEDs producing light beams extending vertically. If a ball intersects the light beams, the light reflected from the ball is scattered and incident on photodetectors embedded in the home plate. A microcomputer embedded in the electronic home plate calculates the height of the ball crossing the light beams, and if the height falls between the top and bottom boundaries of a strike zone adjusted to the height of the batter, an indication system is activated to produce a “strike” signal. The microcomputer in the electronic home plate is further configured to calculate speed of the ball passing over the home plate, and the lateral position of the ball.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Publication date: July 24, 2014
    Applicants: SPESSARD MANUFACTURING, LLC, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK
    Inventors: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK, SPESSARD MANUFACTURING, LLC
  • Patent number: 8591356
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided for facilitating baseball strike zone detection. In accordance with one aspect of the present disclosure, a method includes transmitting radar pulses by a phased-array of transmitting antennas in a radar beam pattern, detecting reflected radar pulses of the transmitted radar pulses at multiple receiving antennas, calculating multiple positions of a projectile based on detecting the reflected radar pulses, determining whether an incursion through a three-dimensional strike zone characterized by batter-specific settings has occurred based on the multiple positions, and providing an indication of the incursion determination for presentation to a user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2013
    Assignee: Fujitsu Limited
    Inventor: William Walker
  • Patent number: 8529382
    Abstract: A baseball pitching simulator includes first and second vertical support members. A first adjustment assembly includes a first carriage coupled to a first vertical support member and is movable by a pulley system and first motor. A second adjustment assembly is coupled to the first carriage and movable vertically when the first carriage is moved along the vertical support member. The second adjustment assembly includes pulleys extending laterally between the vertical support members and is coupled to a pitching target. The first and second adjustment assemblies regulate vertical and horizontal positions thereof, respectively. First and second motors actuate movement of the adjustment assemblies. The pitching target includes a pressure sensor to detect impact. The simulator includes a backstop having a vibration sensor to determine when the backstop is impacted. A processor and programming cause the adjustment assemblies to move the pitching target.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2013
    Inventors: Everett L. Green, Robert R. Poland, III
  • Publication number: 20130157788
    Abstract: Embodiments of a baseball or softball pitching and training device and methods of teaching a student pitcher the art of intelligent pitching are disclosed. An embodiment of a device comprises a vertically planar display surface having an image and dimensions of an average strike zone, the display surface further comprising, a plurality of areas of generally rectangular target shapes for receiving pitched balls; the generally rectangular target shapes indicating graded locations of effectiveness of pitches; and the device furthermore comprising, pitch location information, which is controlled by pitch count of “balls” and “strikes”. Furthermore, an embodiment of a method includes the steps of (1) providing the device disclosed above; and (2) providing pitch location and pitch selection information, which are controlled by pitch count of “balls” and “strikes”.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 24, 2013
    Publication date: June 20, 2013
    Inventor: Darrell J. Moore
  • Publication number: 20130157787
    Abstract: A baseball pitching simulator includes first and second vertical support members. A first adjustment assembly includes a first carriage coupled to a first vertical support member and is movable by a pulley system and first motor. A second adjustment assembly is coupled to the first carriage and movable vertically when the first carriage is moved along the vertical support member. The second adjustment assembly includes pulleys extending laterally between the vertical support members and is coupled to a pitching target. The first and second adjustment assemblies regulate vertical and horizontal positions thereof, respectively. First and second motors actuate movement of the adjustment assemblies. The pitching target includes a pressure sensor to detect impact. The simulator includes a backstop having a vibration sensor to determine when the backstop is impacted. A processor and programming cause the adjustment assemblies to move the pitching target.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 16, 2011
    Publication date: June 20, 2013
    Inventors: Everett L. Green, Robert R. Poland, III
  • Patent number: 8413990
    Abstract: A game system comprises a base game-playing structure and at least two target surfaces each defining at least one target zone and depicting different projectile-passing games. The target surfaces are engageable with the base game-playing structure in one or more substantially vertical orientations and configured to receive passed projectiles. The system also includes at least one sensor engaged with the base game-playing structure. The target zone is positioned at a location on the target surface which is aligned with the sensor. The sensor is configured to detect the presence of a projectile at the target zone. The system may also include an electronic display configured to display the status of the game being played with the game system, and an electronic controller configured to receive signals from the sensor and coupled to the electronic display to reflect the status of the game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2013
    Assignee: Indian Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: James R. Allshouse, Safari Chung
  • Patent number: 8376852
    Abstract: An electronic sensing device includes a blanket, at least a sensor unit, and a display unit. The blanket has a circuit unit thereon and a plurality of couplers electrically connected to the circuit unit. The sensor unit is detachably fastened to the blanket and electrically connected to the couplers. The sensor unit has an impact surface. The display unit is electrically connected to the circuit unit of the blanket to show a message when the impact surface of the sensor unit receives an external force.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 19, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: Sport-Ace International Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Eddie Kao
  • Publication number: 20110294607
    Abstract: A sensing device obtains range-related data—such as Doppler data or pulse time-of-flight data—from a sports projectile during flight. The time course of the range-related data is employed, in light of predictable characteristics of the projectile trajectory, to determine and output an accurate determination of the projectile speed for one or more points of interest in its flight. Such determination of speed may, for instance, be the speed at the time of projectile release, even though range-related data is gathered later in the flight, when the projectile is traveling neither so fast, nor straight at the sensor. Such sensing device may employ inexpensive short-range acoustic Doppler, and be incorporated into a target device that automatically displays to a pitcher-in-training the speed and ball/strike condition of each pitch.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 10, 2011
    Publication date: December 1, 2011
    Inventor: Jerry B. Roberts
  • Patent number: 8001838
    Abstract: A sensing device obtains range-related data—such as Doppler data or pulse time-of-flight data—from a sports projectile during flight. The time course of the range-related data is employed, in light of predictable characteristics of the projectile trajectory, to determine and output an accurate determination of the projectile speed for one or more points of interest in its flight. Such determination of speed may, for instance, be the speed at the time of projectile release, even though range-related data is gathered later in the flight, when the projectile is traveling neither so fast, nor straight at the sensor. Such sensing device may employ inexpensive short-range acoustic Doppler, and be incorporated into a target device that automatically displays to a pitcher-in-training the speed and ball/strike condition of each pitch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 5, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2011
    Inventor: Jerry B. Roberts
  • Patent number: 7972224
    Abstract: A weight sled apparatus useful for strength training and simulating the resistance of an opponent during a blocking event has a tubular construction forming a U-shaped member having a pair of parallel legs which serve as runners. A weight bearing member affixed to and extending between the pair of runners allows mounting of removable mount weights on a horn projecting therefrom. A crossbar extending between the runner ends presents a rearward facing surface at least 8 inches above the plane of the runners against which force may be applied. An optional handlebar attachment presents a rearward facing surface against which force may applied in a range from 8 inches to 40 inches above the plane of the runners and normal thereto. The weight sled affords a trainee multiple force application surfaces near the center of gravity of the sled and at differing vertical heights, enabling a more realistic simulation of the resistance presented during a blocking event.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2011
    Assignee: Marty Gilman, Inc.
    Inventor: Neil F. Gilman
  • Patent number: 7901305
    Abstract: A catching machine 5 that enables a pitcher to pitch a ball toward a predetermined target includes a ball collecting portion 20 for catching a ball pitched toward the target 11 and a ball returning portion 30 for returning the ball caught by the ball collecting portion 20 to the pitcher. The ball returning portion 30 includes a ball-return-distance setting device 32 for changeably setting a ball return distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 20, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2011
    Inventor: Kohachiro Maeda
  • Publication number: 20100004075
    Abstract: A catching machine 5 that enables a pitcher to pitch a ball toward a predetermined target includes a ball collecting portion 20 for catching a ball pitched toward the target 11 and a ball returning portion 30 for returning the ball caught by the ball collecting portion 20 to the pitcher. The ball returning portion 30 includes a ball-return-distance setting device 32 for changeably setting a ball return distance.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 20, 2007
    Publication date: January 7, 2010
    Inventor: Kohachiro Maeda
  • Publication number: 20090298622
    Abstract: A sensing device obtains range-related data—such as Doppler data or pulse time-of-flight data—from a sports projectile during flight. The time course of the range-related data is employed, in light of predictable characteristics of the projectile trajectory, to determine and output an accurate determination of the projectile speed for one or more points of interest in its flight. Such determination of speed may, for instance, be the speed at the time of projectile release, even though range-related data is gathered later in the flight, when the projectile is traveling neither so fast, nor straight at the sensor. Such sensing device may employ inexpensive short-range acoustic Doppler, and be incorporated into a target device that automatically displays to a pitcher-in-training the speed and ball/strike condition of each pitch.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 5, 2008
    Publication date: December 3, 2009
    Inventor: Jerry B. Roberts
  • Publication number: 20090286631
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a training aid to promote well balanced pitching techniques for any sport that requires a pitching motion related to but not limited to baseball and softball including a pitching tunnel structure and a pitching target and ball containment system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 15, 2008
    Publication date: November 19, 2009
    Inventors: Matt Hammons, Eric Andrews
  • Publication number: 20090170642
    Abstract: The present invention is a system for pitching of baseball or softball to enjoy virtual game, the system includes a pitching room having a mound from which a player will throw a ball and a home plate by which the thrown ball will be determined depending upon its trajectory; a video camera for photographing the pitching room along the longitudinal direction thereof from the back of the mound by using a two-dimensional image sensor included therein; a stripe pattern arranged at a predetermined area including the home plate on the floor, wherein the stripe pattern indicates different positions in the longitudinal direction of the area; a mirror obliquely mounted on the ceiling right above the home plate for reflecting the optical image of the home plate and stripe pattern toward the video camera; and a computer for detecting three-dimensional position of the thrown ball based on the image signal output from the video camera photographing both of the thrown ball and the optical image of the stripe pattern above w
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 19, 2008
    Publication date: July 2, 2009
    Inventor: Shoich Ono
  • Patent number: 7399241
    Abstract: A pitch training system for indicating whether a thrown baseball has passed through a strike zone includes a zone assembly for detecting a baseball passing through the zone assembly. The zone assembly indicates when the baseball passes through a strike zone as determined by the zone assembly. A backstop is aligned with and positioned a distance from the zone assembly. The backstop intercepts the baseball thrown through the zone assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2006
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2008
    Inventor: Robert L. Thomas, Sr.
  • Patent number: 7393291
    Abstract: A pitching practice apparatus includes a frame unit having a rectangular frame member, X-axis and Y-axis sensor units mounted on the frame member, a control unit connected to the sensor units and to a sound generating device, and a net body provided on the frame unit. The sensor units are operable so as to form sampling regions for sensing entry of a ball into the frame member. The control unit determines position of the ball entering into the frame member, and compares the ball position with preset parameters to determine whether the ball is a good ball or a foul ball. Ball information determined by the control unit is shown on a display device. The sound generating device is used to generate a sound output corresponding to status of the ball that was thrown into the frame member as determined by the control unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2008
    Inventors: Wen-Chih Huang, Jui-Yang Lin
  • Patent number: 7341530
    Abstract: A system adds a graphical image of the strike zone to a video or other image of a baseball game. The system determines location of the strike zone and the ball in real space. The locations of the strike zone and the ball are depicted in the video. Based on knowing the locations of the strike zone and the ball, the system can determines whether the pitch was a strike or a ball.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2008
    Assignee: Sportvision, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard H. Cavallaro, Eric Steinberg, Andre Gueziec, Alon Mozes
  • Patent number: 7270616
    Abstract: The batter monitoring system is a modified home plate for baseball including a sensor unit to detect whether or not the bat crosses the plate as a hitter swings at a pitched ball and also when a runner crosses the plate. After the pitch, a green light is illuminated to indicate that the batter swung the bat or a red light is illuminated if the batter did not swing the bat. Each player would wear a transmitter which the sensor would detect as it crossed the plate, illuminating the lights and sounding a buzzer to indicate when the device is detected crossing the plate. This allows the umpire to watch the ball coming into the baseman's glove and determine whether the ball arrived before or after he heard the buzzer. The sensor, lights, control unit, and buzzer would be built into the plate, and the plate would be recessed into the ground so that its appearance does not differ from that of a conventional home plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2007
    Inventor: Arthur C. Snyder
  • Patent number: 6709351
    Abstract: A sports game system for using a ball such as baseball, soccer, cricket, tennis, etc., has two first and second separated area sensors for measuring speed and location of the ball hit or kicked by a player, monitor TVs for displaying at least speed and location of the ball, and a controller for controlling the area sensors and the multi-monitor TV, whereby the player can feel as if he were enjoying a real game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Inventor: Takeshi Hori
  • Publication number: 20030171169
    Abstract: A system adds a graphical image of the strike zone to a video or other image of a baseball game. The system determines location of the strike zone and the ball in real space. The locations of the strike zone and the ball are depicted in the video. Based on knowing the locations of the strike zone and the ball, the system can determines whether the pitch was a strike or a ball.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 27, 2002
    Publication date: September 11, 2003
    Inventors: Richard H. Cavallaro, Eric Steinberg, Andre Gueziec, Alon Mozes
  • Patent number: 6605011
    Abstract: A game machine that enables the playing of an enjoyable ball game within a limited space, particularly a baseball-related game. This game machine comprises a target (10) on which is displayed wording such as “single base hit”, a ball supply section (20a), a home base (112a) for a right-handed batter and a home base (112b) for a left-handed batter provided in a batting area (110), and a batter's box (114) therebetween. This game machine uses a predetermined evaluation means to detect whether a ball (200) hit by a player (300) using a bat (210) has hit the target (10), and displays an evaluation result on an on-base status display section (60a) and a numerical value display section (60b).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2003
    Assignee: Namco Ltd.
    Inventors: Hideaki Yamamoto, Genzou Watanabe
  • Patent number: 6554284
    Abstract: A target device includes a rear sheet member and a front sheet member each having one or more conductor members aligned with each other, and an intermediate member disposed between the sheet members for separating the conductor members from each other. The intermediate member is compressible or deformable, or includes one or more openings having an area large enough for allowing the conductor members to be contacted with each other when the sheet members are deformed and hit by balls. The target device may be supported in any place or position with a frame.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2003
    Inventor: Jason Chou
  • Publication number: 20020109301
    Abstract: A target device includes a rear sheet member and a front sheet member each having one or more conductor members aligned with each other, and an intermediate member disposed between the sheet members for separating the conductor members from each other. The intermediate member is compressible or deformable, or includes one or more openings having an area large enough for allowing the conductor members to be contacted with each other when the sheet members are deformed and hit by balls. The target device may be supported in any place or position with a frame.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 29, 2002
    Publication date: August 15, 2002
    Inventor: Jason Chou
  • Publication number: 20020081002
    Abstract: A baseball pitch-training apparatus includes a first-sampling region, second-sampling region, and a microprocessor. The first sampling region further includes a plurality of vertical and horizontal sampling units respectively along the vertical direction and the horizontal direction at the front edge of the home plate. The second sampling region is located in the rear of the first sampling region and also includes a plurality of vertical and horizontal sampling units. The sampling units of the present invention are used to generate position signals of a passing ball that will be forwarded to the microprocessor for further parsing the speed and the trajectory variation of a pitched ball, and determining whether or not the ball passed a strike region.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 23, 2001
    Publication date: June 27, 2002
    Inventors: Keh-Yi Lee, I-Ming Hsu, Shin-Shou Huang, Juin-Yi Wu, Mei-Fang Fang, Wan-Ying Hsu
  • Publication number: 20020052255
    Abstract: The pitcher's workout machine has a frame assembly which includes three rectangular light panel frames connected to define a box shaped target zone. The first and second frames mount infrared transmitters and receivers in a pattern defining a rectangular strike zone, with a ball zone above, below, and on opposite sides of the strike zone. Lenses are used to collimate the infrared beams. When a ball passes through the frame assembly, the first frame triggers a pulse generator and the third frame stops the pulse generator. Shift registers count the pulses, and the speed is determined by the predetermined distance between the first and third frames. Shift registers count balls and strikes, and calculate the number of balls, strikes, walks, outs, and innings, which are displayed on a display panel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 1, 2001
    Publication date: May 2, 2002
    Inventor: George Trevino
  • Patent number: 6358164
    Abstract: A strike zone indicator apparatus has a mount positioned in relation to a home plate and away from possible interference. First projectors connected to the mount project first beams related to the home plate. A measurer takes particular individual players measurements and a processor connected to the measurer and to the first projectors creates individualized upper and lower limits of strike zones according to the particular individual players measurements. Second beam projectors are connected to the processor for projecting second beams intersecting with the first beams for establishing above the preexisting home plate the upper and lower limits and the strike zones based on the particular individual players measurements from the measurer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 19, 2002
    Inventors: Joseph S. Bracewell, Marvin Fabrikant
  • Patent number: 6350211
    Abstract: A simulated image of a batter facing a pitcher is provided for use in pitching practice. The lower portion of the batter includes one or more stakes which are inserted into the ground and provide a stable support. By positioning the simulated batter in an appropriate place near “home plate”, a pitcher can use the batter as a reference to determine the location of the strike zone. The size of the batter can be adjusted to vary the size of the strike zone. A ball detection apparatus and audio output can be provided to indicate when a pitch is detected and whether the pitch is a ball or a strike.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2002
    Inventor: Laura Zane Kolmar
  • Patent number: 6244979
    Abstract: A pitching practice device includes a frame with four sides and a net portion composed of longitudinal and latitude strings is defined within the frame. Each string has an end connected to a connection member and the other end of the string is connected to a handle. Each connection member is connected to a spring and an emitting member is connected to the connection member. Each connection member is received in a tube fixedly located in the frame and has a receiving member. When the strings are hit by a ball, the emitting members send a message to the corresponding receiving members to calculate the speed of the ball by the displacement of the strings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 11, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2001
    Inventor: Wan-Hsiang Wu
  • Patent number: 5984810
    Abstract: A system for measuring and analyzing body mechanics of a subject includes receivers, transmitters, a display and a processor. The processor which includes a controller which controls the timing of signals from the transmitters so that a signal from each of the transmitters contains an encoded signature which unambiguously identifies the signal as coming from that particular the transmitter. The processor also include a detector which detects signal transmissions as the signal transmissions arrive at the receivers, a signature determinator which recognizes the signature and determines from which particular transmitter the detected signal originated, a local timer which measures a temporal delay between times of emission of the signals from the transmitters and their detection at the receivers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 16, 1999
    Inventors: William H. Frye, Randall J. Peck
  • Patent number: 5820496
    Abstract: A backstop or target particularly suited for use in athletic applications such as baseball or golf, and which includes a frame from which a flexible net is suspended at its corners and connected to a plurality of linear displacement sensors. As the net is displaced due to the impact of a projectile such as a ball, tension is applied to the cords which in turn move the axially-moveable components of each linear displacement sensor. In one embodiment, the linear displacement sensors utilize a light beam and photoelectric detector to plot the time intervals at which equally-spaced indices on the axially-moveable component pass a predetermined point. This data is used to determine position, velocity, or trajectory of the projectile relative to the initial plane of the net using direct geometric and trigonometric calculations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 13, 1998
    Assignee: Sportronics Holdings, Inc.
    Inventor: Ronald W. Bergeron
  • Patent number: 5676607
    Abstract: A laser beam strike zone indicator including a home plate. A plurality of adjustable laser beams are directed upwardly from the home plate to define a strike zone for a height of a predetermined batter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 14, 1997
    Inventor: Ernest A. Stumpf
  • Patent number: 5658211
    Abstract: An interactive throwing game apparatus and method includes a longitudinal game table provided in an arcade game environment. An upright ball target is mounted across the front end of the game table at a location facing a human player standing at a player station adjacent to the rear end of the apparatus. A pitching mechanism recessed beneath the game table ejects individual balls toward the human player, who then attempts to throw each ball to a defined target. The object of the game is to cause the ball to impact the target area before a simulated runner visible along the game table reaches a finishing position adjacent to the ball target. Visual and audible messages are provided to the human player dependent upon the accuracy of each throw and the timed sequence at which a given ball impacts the target area in relation to the movement of the simulated runner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 19, 1997
    Inventor: Clinton G. Glover
  • Patent number: 5602638
    Abstract: The invention is to an apparatus and method for determining the position and speed of a pitched ball. A collection box includes arrays of pulsed infrared emitter sensor pairs. As a ball passes between the emitter/sensor pairs, the signal between at least two emitter/sensor pairs are interrupted. The position of the interrupted emitter/sensor pairs and the time the signal between an emitter/sensor pair indicates the position and speed of the pitched ball.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 11, 1997
    Inventor: Jim L. Boulware
  • Patent number: 5599017
    Abstract: An apparatus for use in practicing the fundamentals of baseball is provided. The apparatus includes an opening for accepting and capturing baseballs thrown at the apparatus. The opening is covered by a number of vertical flaps, behind which is a padded backstop. The flaps are colored appropriately to designate a typical strike zone. A pitchback machine is provided to propel baseballs from the apparatus. A ball holding tray is positioned beneath the opening and backstop to accumulate thrown balls or to retain a reservoir of balls. A motor-driven spinner plate is situated integral to the holding tray for circulating the balls resting therein and for facilitating the movement of the balls to an outlet path. The holding tray outlet path leads to a motor-driven helical auger. The auger conveys the balls from the outlet path to the pitchback machine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 4, 1997
    Assignee: Dick Bixler Sports, Inc.
    Inventors: Dickie R. Bixler, Matthew R. Bixler