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Making it in Vermont: Football practice robots inspire military training technology

Aug 22, 2019   |   VTDigger

"A small company that has created a remote-controlled tackling robot for football or rugby practices is using the same technology to make a shooting target intended for the military and law enforcement," writes VTDigger.

"In 2016, MVP Robotics introduced a dummy that can weave, dodge, or just race down an athletic field inviting a practice tackle, controlled by a coach on the sidelines.

"The football dummy, which looks like a person-sized chess piece, is amply padded and springs back to stand vertically after it’s knocked down.

"The latest product from MVP (for Mobile Virtual Player), which is still in the prototype phase, looks a lot more human. Like the football dummy, it travels around on a wheeled base. But the man-shaped mannequin is built to weave and dodge as it avoids live fire in training sessions.

"The new training robot is called the HEKTR — the Humanoid Engageable Kinetic Training Robot. MVP Robotics says it has a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force to develop the robots in partnership with a company called Columbia Tech in Westborough, Massachusetts, which is manufacturing them.

"'We’re trying to bring these to market on a larger scale,' said company co-founder Quinn Connell ['13 Th'14]."

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