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Virtual reality and robotic tackling dummies—how Dartmouth is shaping the future of football

Aug 19, 2019   |   ESPN

"In spring 2013, [Coach Buddy] Teevens stood in his office and gazed out the window, with a researcher friend from Dartmouth's engineering school by his side," writes ESPN. "The players already hadn't been tackling one another for a few seasons by that point, but the team was still perfecting a practice regimen without live tackling. The staff installed 10-minute tackling circuits, the players hunting down pop-up dummies and half-moon dummies. They chased after and tackled a device that looked like a snowman as coaches pulled it on a rope, doing their best to make that snowman simulate an opponent on the move.

"'Wouldn't it be neat,' Teevens began, 'if we could make one of those move?' He waved to a tackling dummy on the field below.

"'You know, Buddy,' said John Currier ['79 Th'81], the researcher friend, 'I think we can.'

"Currier convened a team of engineering students, including one of Teevens' football players, to fashion the prototype that eventually became the Mobile Virtual Player."

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