Electric shock absorbers on baseball bat

Anyone who plays cricket knows what it feels like when you hit the ball with everything you can muster but do not middle it. The shock waves start at your hands and reverberate painfully up your arms

Well, the same rules apply in baseball, although the `sweet spot’ – roughly 6in in from the hitting end – covers a smaller area, making baseball bats even more prone to unpleasant vibrations.

Following detailed laboratory and field tests, Active Control eXperts of Massachusetts applied its piezoelectric vibration control technology to enlarge this `sweet spot’ and create the world’s first electric bat: the Copperhead ACX.

ACX determined the frequencies of the major vibration modes in the bat and focused the vibration damper on those areas most noticeable to hitters. The piezoelectric dampers are electronic shock absorbers that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. This energy is then applied across a `shunt’ circuit, which dissipates the energy as heat, removing it from the bat and reducing vibration. Placement of the damper was the key to the success of the design. Using FEA models, ACX predicted the induced strain level – which produces the vibrations – down the length of the bat. Placing the dampers in the areas of highest strain had the greatest effect on vibration reduction. Of course the development is not without controversy: it represents another addition to the debate concerning performance enhancing equipment.