While the NFL is not normally known for embracing change, certain teams around the league have been quick to adapt to new technologies that will give them an edge or help improve existing training methods. In 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the first to trial tackling robots at practice, a device ultimately purchased by a number of NFL teams and colleges.
Now it would appear that the use of robotics in football has taken a significant leap forward with the invention of a device that is most simply described as a robotic quarterback. Created by a group of alumni from Iowa University and their company Monarc Sports Robotics , “The Seeker” is capable of delivering a football to any predefined point on the field using tracking software or being used as a more accurate version of a jugs machine.
Here's the story behind Seeker, the world's first robotic quarterback developed by Monarc Inc and currently being trialled by a host of NFL and college football teams. Via Iowa's @Local4NewsWHBF #robotics #sportsrobots pic.twitter.com/em7x8YZNou— Robot&AIWorld (@RobotAndAIWorld) June 13, 2019
Given the precise nature of the device and its ability to map an exact point on the field, while accurately delivering the ball over and over again, the benefits of the robot are clear for all to see. Most recently it has been trialed by the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a number of Division I college programs.
World's first robot QB— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) June 14, 2019
(via @RobotAndAIWorld) pic.twitter.com/UBjR1xnoFb
Designed to be easy enough to use by anyone capable of using a simple flip phone, The Seeker would offer teams the opportunity to allow receivers to train without the need of an additional player, while also giving them quality reps not wasted by errant throws.
With the Steelers noted for their interest in this sort of advanced technology, it might not be too long until fans see them on the field in Latrobe too.