Dartmouth Football Team Employs First Robotic Mobile Tackling Dummy

Developed at Thayer School of Engineering, the wheeled, self-righting, remotely controlled Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) simulates a football player in size, weight, and agility.

Dartmouth has also secured exclusive Ivy League-rights to a virtual reality practice technology, known as STRIVR, that uses an Oculus Rift headset and a customized multi-camera device designed to take video in all directions. The system allows players to put on the headset and be totally immersed in a live-action practice with their teammates on their home field.

“This is cutting-edge stuff. Eventually everyone is going to want to have this. This puts us ahead of the curve,” says Teevens, the Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach.

The College will have both the STRIVR all-direction video technology and the MVP system on display Aug. 26, the first day of practice. Teevens says the program is still learning to use the STRIVR video equipment, but the hope is that, eventually, second- and third-team players will be able to be “in the play” for a high number of repetitions, normally only available to a first string players.

And the MVP tool will allow for blocking and tackling practice that cuts the chance of injury significantly, says Teevens, a nationally known leader in efforts to reduce injuries in collegiate athletics.

“Health is a huge thing in our game, and certainly in this league,” says Teevens, who led the Big Green to the Ivy League title in 1978 as Dartmouth quarterback and Ivy Player of the Year.

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