Plate Vision wins Best of Show

DCTech has a best of show award winner that actually means something. It’s not one of those LifeFuels-like, pay-the-fee-receive-an-award award things. Plate Vision is a product developed by two University of Maryland Professors, Dr. Chris Davis, Dr. John Rzasa.  The company was formed in cooperation with the help of the University of Maryland, Office of Technology Commercialization OTC.

OTC helped Davis and Rzasa find the resources to create a business plan, find a CEO and garner an investment from TEDCO, the State of Maryland’s, early-stage investment arm.

The match between entrepreneur and University of Maryland technology was made through a partnership between the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Office of Technology Commercialization, headed by Julie Lenzor and Mindshare. Ms. Lenzor is the UMD’s, Chief Innovation Officer.

Mindshare is a local DCTech university for startup entrepreneurs.  Founded in the 1990s by local service providers, VCs, and entrepreneurs, Since it’s founding Mindshare has trained over and counts an alumni organization of over 1,000 entrepreneurs. Plate Vision CEO, Todd Levitt graduated from Mindshare in the late 90s when he was the co-founder of Olympus Development Group, a software development firm from which he successfully exited in 2002. Since then Todd has been the owner of 20 guys… he owns 4, 5 Guys franchise restaurants (get it 20 guys, 4 times 5 guys equal 20 guys).

UMD’s OTC office partners with Mindshare to match successfully exited entrepreneurs with professors at the University who are seeking experts to help them turn their intellectual property into profitable companies.

According to the January 25, 2019 edition of the Collegiate Baseball Newsletter, Plate vision was chosen as one of the 12 top products at the recent Annual Trade Show.  What follows is an excerpt of the article:

Plate Vision

Plate Vision is a real electronic home plate which has patented infrared sensors and a camera built into the plate. The upper part of the plate detaches so that it can be charged which lasts 8-12 hours. All pitch information is captured by the sensors and camera in real time and transmitted to any connected wireless device and to the cloud for information sharing. Plate Vision can capture all of the exact same type of pitch data you see in the strike zone grid when watching a Major League baseball game on television.

It can work in any type of light setting whether it is in direct sunlight or inside a training facility. The plate is the exact same size as every other standard home plate and was built to withstand all outdoor elements, including rain, mud or runners stepping on it with steel spikes or sliding into it. The key for precise operation is keeping the sensors and camera clean without dirt piling on top of them.

Invented initially by Dr. Christopher Davis and Dr. John Rzasa at the University of Maryland which took five years to design, it has been enhanced by Todd Levitt. Plate Vision can collect data or video on every pitch in practice or a game. It can then be charted and monitored over time. Plate Vision can also be used to assist or call balls and strikes in games. The high and low points of the strike zone for each hitter can be entered in the program. So the vertical extremes of the strike zone of a 4-foot-5 batter to a 7-foot hitter can be easily tracked.

Every umpire, coach, and parent can see in real time where the ball crosses the plate and where it lands in the strike zone grid. You don’t even have to be at a game to see each pitch. The plate can light green or red and indicate visually on the field whether each pitch is a ball or strike.

The Best of Show Committee felt a conference should use the plate on an experimental basis during the season to see how accurate it is when used during an entire season. Professional tennis has been using electronic line calling for years. The time is quickly approaching when ball/strike calls will be made by machines which will prevent the lion’s share of ejections during games on ball/strike arguments. The plate will be available for sale early this summer and will cost between $1,500-$2,000. A subscription to the individual data will cost about $100 a year.

Congratulations to the University of Maryland, and the Plate Vision team.