Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Fun Topic: Nick LeGrande + Android App + MLB == AWESOME!

OK, normally helping kids with life-threatening diseases will get my attention. Wacky, cool technology barriers pushed, that will get my attention. Sports stories, that often gets my attention too. Android/Mobile Technology stories get my attention...

.. but 'Today' a story turns something sad (at least for a moment) into a story of hope, inspiration and amazement with all 4 ingredients. Tonight we had a boy with rare bone marrow disease (Severe Aplastic Anemia) throw out a ceremonial first pitch for a A's & Yankees game from 1800 miles (or 2896.82 km for us Canucks) away in a Google office using a TeleRobotic Pitching Machine using an Android App!

Children's Wish + Cool Tech Problem + Sports == AMAZING!
I first read about this story on here. Interesting article and it got my attention, but when I dug deeper, the fully story is actually quite a lot more interesting...

If you want to learn more, I suggest you go to the site and watch the background video. I dare you not to both admire and adore the young Nick LeGrande after watching the video. (He's a all-star even if he didn't throw the first pitch at the game tonight.)

Then watch the time-lapse photo of Google Fibre office turned into a pitching mound. This is 'Empathy', Google just didn't put down some astro-turf and a big monitor. They wanted Nick to 'feel' like he was part of the ballpark. (Very cool stuff. Reminds of when I used to work @ SkyDome in the JumbroTron/Production crew and peek @ the grounds crew doing the set-up before a jays game.)

Now what got me *even* more stoked is to learn that it was an Android app that controlled the pitching robot. That's got to be a very cool project. 

"In explaining the process, Google said that LeGrande would use an Android application allowing him to control the movements of the robot in Oakland. That robot was equipped with a camera, livestreaming a view of the ballpark to LeGrande in Kansas City."

If you didn't know Google Fibre is Google's version of a Internet Provider. They claim 1000x faster downloads (and a logo of a rabbit that got hit with the Skittles Rainbow). Google Fibre of course also has a set-top box, etc,etc. 

You can read Google's focus on the story here:

You can also see more photos in the twitter feed here:

Sadly, I saw the tweet, but I haven't been able to find video of the pitch broadcasted anywhere. I'm told didn't show the pitch either. 

************** UPDATE **************

Here is the YouTube Video for the actual pitch. It was posted the day after the event. The pitch actually starts around 3:06.

************** UPDATE **************

Regardless, it's still Amazing. We're in a great time now where technology is progressing to a point we can make amazing things happen for people. We are set-up to help people like never before. The only barriers I see is our imagination and our ability to combine 'compassion' and 'empathy' into 'reality'.

I am sitting here, waiting and watching for what comes next.


p.s. One of the ways (as outlined by the Google Fibre Blog) to help those like Nick and others like him is to get tested to be a donor.

"You can help Nick and others with life-threatening illnesses with one quick cheek swab. Visit to become a donor."

p.p.s. for some more links:

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