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49ers using remote control tackling dummies at practice

The machines are rising up!

The San Francisco 49ers are back at practice on Tuesday, and they unveiled something that I think can be described as disturbing.


But seriously, this is actually not entirely new. The engineering school at Dartmouth University designed what they call the Mobile Virtual Player, and the school’s football team used them in practice. Rogers Athletic Company took that prototype and built on it, which would appear to be what the 49ers are using.

Whatever the case, SB Nation’s Claire McNear summed it up best:

Look -- anything that could reduce the incidence of head and neck injuries, a significant percentage of which occur during practice, should be applauded. It is good that smart people are taking this seriously, and that institutions like Dartmouth are investing resources into finding new ways to protect athletes.

But we probably shouldn't be building semi-autonomous, human-sized megarobots specifically designed to be indestructible as they rocket themselves around.