Vermont Patent of the Month – May 2022

Practice makes perfect, unless it causes an injury. Most football leagues do limited contact practices to reduce the chance of concussions. For instance, instead of tackling each other, most teams use padded targets which the player tackles. Unfortunately, in a real scenario, the opposing player is rarely a still target. Mobile Virtual Player, LLC has developed a robotic tactical target that creates a more realistic practice environment.  

The device can achieve multiple types of mobility including leaning, rolling, sliding, and even launching. Rolling is achieved using a wheel drive system capable of moving in any direction at 16 mph, along with a zero turning radius. The target is crafted using multiple layers of conductive and insulating materials to create a humanoid form.

The target provides realistic reactions using a series of sensors. These sensors can detect and differentiate between projectile hits to the head, body, and other regions of the humanoid target body. A physical response is triggered in response to these hits. For instance, the target may be moving toward the player and upon being tackled, is automatically shut off to ensure the wheels cannot cause any harm. The smart control allows for rapid steering correction and self-righting capabilities.

With hours of battery life and multi-terrain capabilities, the tactical target has been seen to decrease head injuries incurred during practice by 58%, making games safer for young athletes everywhere. 

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