Over the past few decades robots have taken over factory jobs, replaced our pets, and even made presidential impersonators obsolete at Disneyland. Humans have good reason to be frustrated, and that’s probably why watching robotic tackle dummies get creamed is so endlessly satisfying.
Developed by engineering students at Dartmouth College, the MVP—or Mobile Virtual Player—is controlled by an operator off-field using a wireless remote. The robots are clad in layers of foam so players tackling them don’t risk injury, just like with traditional tackle dummies. But these robo versions are able to move and scurry around the field providing a more realistic simulation of what it’s like to tackle a human opponent.
We’re probably also seeing the humble beginnings of the RFL—or Robot Football League—in this video. Right now the robots can’t throw perfect spirals or make amazing end zone catches. But the most controversial thing they’d do off the field is leak coolant—which team owners would certainly appreciate.