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The New England Patriots are the local football team – football as in “using a ball that’s pointy on both ends” not “using a ball covered with pentagons and hexagons” – and they’re going to the championship game for the umpteenth time in the past umpteen-plus-a-few years. Area news outlets are falling over ourselves to weave this fact into their stories but since Granite Geek isn’t exactly a bastion of sports coverage I’m at a bit of a loss.

There is, however, one football topic that I have covered: Dartmouth engineer’s geekification of the tackling dummy,  which traditionally is a big human-sized object that players can slam into, practicing the fact that their game involves slamming into human-sized humans. Starting about four years ago (I first wrote about it in 2015) they developed a motorized version that is self-righting and remotely controlled, to help with practice and also reduce injuries to the practicing players.

Since then the project has gotten a lot of attention – I like this 2017 article in an engineering publication about their use of “reiterative prototyping” – and has become a business that is being used by at least one professional football team (although not, so far as I can tell, by the Patriots).

So there you go: I’ve written about the Patriots!



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