By Juhan Samuel
Kochi, May 6 : A group of engineering students in Kerala has developed a cricket-bowling machine that can deliver balls at per desired spin, angle and length.
The innovative machine can be operated manually as well as automatically with the help of a computer. The micro-control chip controls and positions the four motors of the equipment.
The team's inspiration has been Australian bowling legend Shane Warne. Influenced by his bowling technique, the team wanted to replicate it using a machine.
The team comprised of five final year students of electrical and electronics engineering background from Mar Athanasius College of Engineering at Kothamangalam near Kochi, has invented the 'Cricket bowling machine' by using rat trap, car-jackiee and a few motors.
The team comprising Eldho Kuriakose, Arun S, Arun Shambu, Arun K. M. and Praveen Thomas worked under the guidance of Prof. Rajan P. Thomas for a semester project.
"We concentrated mainly for spin bowling and various other parameters can be varied as to where to pitch (short pitch or long pitch), leg spin or off spin and different angles. Also whether the bowl should strike left of the stump or to the right of the stump, it can be controlled by an interface on the computer," said Eldho Kuriakose, one of the team members.
"We can tick an option if the batsman is left handed or right handed and if he requires a leg spin or an off spin. Depending upon all parameters the machine will set accordingly," he said.
In the manual mode, the machine is controlled by means of panel board switches. In the automatic mode, the machine targets the middle stump with the help of an inbuilt micro controller and positions the vertical and horizontal angle of firing.
The machine's only drawback is that the balls need to be fed manually and can only be bowled to a distance of three meters in the initial demo stage.
It took household items and a few rotating motors to design and assemble a prototype-bowling machine. It cost the team about rupees 20,000.
The machine is certainly more cost efficient compared to conventional machines used mainly for tennis which operates on the principle of air pressure and can cost anywhere between rupees 100,000 to 200,000 in the market of sports goods and gadgets.
The bowling machine is not ready yet for market.
"We made use of the materials available in the market which is very cost effective. The approximate cost is less than 25,000 rupees for this model. This cannot be now sent to the market, as it needs a lot of improvement," said Prof. Rajan P. Thomas, Mar Athanasius College of Engineering.
The team is presently carrying out more work on this machine to increase the motors, the spring capacity and even the software to make this machine more commercial before it is introduced at the actual nets, be it indoors or outdoors.