Over a decade ago, Driveline Founder Kyle Boddy proposed open-sourcing biomechanics data. Looking back, the premise was simple: Open-source pitch physics data fundamentally changed baseball. If open-source motion capture data could have a fraction of the same impact, we could change the game again.
Last week, we finally started to deliver on that promise by launching The OpenBiomechanics Project, an open-source initiative for anonymized elite-level athletic motion capture data.
While it’s not pitch-by-pitch MLB biomechanics data, OBP does represent the largest and highest-skilled open-access baseball biomechanics dataset to date.
What is the OpenBiomechanics Project?
At its simplest, The OpenBiomechanics Project (OBP) is a website and a data repository. At our website, you can find basic information about the project, usage terms and conditions, and how to contact us if you have any questions. Our GitHub repository houses more biomechanics-specific documentation, raw and processed motion capture data, and supporting code.
In our initial release, we provided data from 100 pitchers during their motion capture assessment at Driveline Baseball. At least two game-effort fastballs for each athlete were provided, depending on how many pitches were processed and uploaded to our internal database.
A week later, we did the same for 98 hitters.
Moving forward, we hope to expand to other athletic movements and other sports.
Why did we do it?
We did it to adhere to Driveline’s core values: Gain insights. Use those insights to get players better. Give back to the baseball community. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We did it to provide access to motion capture data to those who would not have access to it otherwise. Students from socioeconomically disadvantaged or otherwise marginalized groups. Students from scientifically developing countries. We wanted to give them a means to do projects and submit applications that can compete with those from more fortunate backgrounds. Maybe one day, OBP makes the difference for someone, somewhere getting that internship or winning that scholarship that helped jumpstart their career.
We did it to increase collaboration between Driveline, researchers in academic settings, and researchers in other industry positions. Many hands make light work.
We did it to help screen internship/full-time applicants. Want to get a job here? Want your application to stand out? Take this dataset and show us something we didn’t even know was there. Or, even better, show us where we can improve!
How can you help?
The best way you can help is to use the data for something. Poke around. Visualize it. Analyze it. Do a research project with it. And then write about it. Put your project out into the world and let everyone know Driveline gave you the means to do the project in the first place. Curious people are already doing it.
If you’re interested in contributing or donating to OBP, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us change baseball again…
This post was written by Kyle Wasserberger, Principal Sports Scientist.