At Notre Dame, Football Goes Robotic


(Robot whirring) – My name is Zoe Dingeman. (Robot whirring) I play football for Notre Dame. (Suspenseful music) Robotic football. (suspenseful music) – [Narrator] At the
University of Notre Dame, football is a big deal. In the basement halls of
the engineering school, a group of students are
turning their beloved sport into science. (upbeat music) – The Robotic Football
Club is an engineering club with students from a variety of different engineering majors that work together to design, build, fabricate,
and play with robots. (chattering) – You may not think it,
but robotic football actually is a lot like real football. Our goal in this club is to
make the game as comparable to human football as possible. We have, for example, a
quarterback that can throw a ball. We have wide receivers
that can catch the ball. We have offensive linemen,
defensive linemen. Offensive linemen on the kickoff team, Connor and Michelle, I
want you hitting people on the kickoff. Robotic football is
definitely a contact sport. You’re trying to hit
the other team’s robots as hard as you can, and so you need to build
designs that are robust that can handle that sort of stress that they’re constantly placed under. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] From it’s
founding six years ago, the club’s roster now boasts
20 robot football players at a variety of positions, all controlled and driven by 35 humans on the sideline. – [Zoe] This is RPM, it’s
our first-string quarterback and it’s a really interesting robot. It uses semi-autonomous
features to scan the field and find the receiver
that it’d like to pass to. Once it does that, it can look
at the size of the receiver and know how far it should
throw the ball to it. This is Terabyte and
it’s our running back. It’s really great at finding
the gap to go down the field and get a touchdown. Irish Chocolate is one of our linebackers and it makes a lot of really
great open-field tackles. This is Justin Unit and it’s our kicker. It can accurately kick the
ball between two and 60 feet. This is one of the most
precise robots on our team. (Celebratory music) – [Narrator] Notre Dame
competes against three other Midwest colleges in a
tournament held each spring, but it takes a full school year to prepare for that gauntlet. In the fall semester, the
team recruits new members and trains them for a one-off scrimmage with another college’s team. This year, their fall opponent
is Valparaiso University, and they’re not leaving
anything to chance. In the week before the game, they’re running practice drills, they’re learning the playbook, and they’re watching tape, just like any other football team. – [Brendan] This is
basically the culmination of all this work you’ve put in in the shop with these robots, building them, repairing them, designing them. And you’re going out
and basically watching your engineering put to the test. Irish on three. One, two, three. – [Team] Irish. (applauding) (upbeat music) – [Zoe] The rules of robotic
football are very similar to that of human football,
so we follow NCAA rules to the best of our ability. There are two 20 minute halves for a game, with a 10 minute half time, so it’s a very quick-paced game. (cheering) – [Team] Yes. There we go. – [Zoe] These robots
take a lot of big hits (robots crashing) – We have a backup for every robot, just in case one breaks down. (yelling) – [Announcer] This cannot be good. – [Zoe] So, if the quarterback breaks down and we pull it off and put
the second-string one in, and the pit-crew will work on it and try and fix it as quickly as possible. (suspenseful music) – [Narrator] With their starting
quarterback back in the game after a quick medical
break, the Robotic Irish fight to hold their narrow
lead but can’t score. A touchdown and an extra point will snatch victory from Notre Dame. – [Team] This is the
game, this is the game. Come on, come on, come on, come on. Got it, got it, got it, got it. (Cheering) – [Zoe] The goal of this
is to grow it to be a truly national competition, where we can have multiple conferences
competing for the trophy. – [Narrator] One day, this
could be a real sport, or maybe it already is. – [Team] Irish on three. One, two, three. Irish. – [Brendan] This is
basically real football, it’s just not humans playing it. (suspenseful music)

100 thoughts on “At Notre Dame, Football Goes Robotic

  1. My school is like Notre-Dame but in Canada and in HighSchool. And my school is called Notre-Dame and has the same logo.

  2. My first game against them we beat them by 80 points Woooooooooooo. Also they only scored on there secondish play and that was the only points that were given that game. Both team defense was on point 🙂

  3. Now here is a riddle to guess if you can
    Sing the bells of Notre Dame
    Who is the monster and who is the man?
    Sing the bells, bells, bells, bells
    Bells, bells, bells, bells
    Bells of Notre Dame!

  4. Soooo I learned something asking my American classmates. When Americans say Notre Dame the original way, they mean the one in France. If they say "Noter Dayme", they mean the school. At least thats what Californians think. Glad that cleared some stuff up though. I was going crazy with the way they're pronouncing it.

  5. I love the idea, but will schools offer scholarships to potential robot football team members? Even 20 % off tuition might be an incentive to get the tech orientated students to invest the time for this extracurricular sport.

  6. If you don't see the bigger picture and saying it's lame and calling them "nerds" I feel sorry for you cause the last time I check it's the technology age now and guess who build the device you are watching this video in?

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