How robot umpires are changing the game according to Purdue Professor

WEST LAFAYETTE – A video featuring Rayvon Fouche, a professor of American studies at Purdue University, has been uploaded to the AP Video Hub.

What a Robot Umpire system looks like

The technology recently debuted in the minor leagues, and the commissioner of Major League Baseball says it could soon make its way to the majors. Fouche says robot umpires are a computer-aided system that allows for the tracking of the baseball to determine balls and strikes.

This technology is a potential way to make these calls smoother, more efficient and more effective. However, Fouche says variables such as batter height and movement can make what seems like a simple task more complicated. While the strike zone is a defined space, it varies slightly from batter to batter.

Robot Umpire set-up

Fouche says human umpires bring a level of experience and flexibility that cannot be easily replicated by a technological substitute. He compares baseball to a theatrical event where players and umpires make mistakes as a part of the game. Fouche says that human umpires make the game more entertaining and are vital to our understanding of what baseball is.

In the video, he explains what so-called “robot umpires” are and how the implementation of this technology could impact baseball. This video can be found at All videos in the Campus Insights series are free for download and use by all AP members and can be found at or by doing a general search on the Associated Press site. AP members may use the video or pull quotes for print articles or for broadcast or podcast.