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Prism Podcast: Mobile Virtual Player

Nov 22, 2016   |   by Nathan Kahl   |   ASEE

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"Deep into the NFL season, injuries to key players are starting to pile up. Couple that with an ever-growing awareness of player safety, and football teams are in search of ways to keep players healthy – they need an 'MVP,' if you will.

"Enter the Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) created by two students at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering, Elliot Kastner '13 Th'14 and Quinn Connell '13 Th'14, former collegiate football and rugby players, respectively. 'My experience playing rugby and Elliot's experience on the football field gave us a first-hand account of the dangers of competitive impacts to the body.'

"The MVP is a remote controlled tackling dummy that allows football teams to get practice reps in while beating up on an inanimate object instead of each other. '… saw the potential it had as a benefit not only from the side of a student athlete, but then also it seemed to be an interesting project from the engineering side.'

"They credit the culture of their engineering program in teaching them to push forward through design adversity. 'One of the big mottos at Thayer is to fail early and fail often and we kind of take that to heart with a lot of the early prototypes and builds of the MVP we brought out onto the field to, kind of, break.'

MVP inventors
Clockwise from left: Noah Glennon Th’14 ’15, Andrew Smist ’13 Th’14, Elliot Kastner ’13 Th’14 ’15, and Quinn Connell ’13 Th’14

"In addition to making inroads in the NFL — the Pittsburgh Steelers used the MVP extensively during training camp last year — the project continues to contribute to the Thayer School of Engineering. 'We've been working and continue to work with the school to have a fun project that they can work on for class. So you get athletes who are interested because they have a slight engineering background and you get engineers who are interested who have a slight athletic background.'

"For the American Society for Engineering Education this is Nathan Kahl."

Link to source:

http://www.asee-prism.org/asees-podcast/

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