College Football Robotics - Arlington Catholic Herald

College Football Robotics – Arlington Catholic Herald

Engineers rule a pigskin robotic clash to honor a son he lost in a car crash.

As the football fields sing again with cheers and shouts of encouragement, a local Catholic parent’s thoughts turn to a future collegiate competition – an automated competition held without a single person on the field – in honor of a dear son lost in a car accident.

Next spring, dozens of teams will compete in the 11th National Collegiate Robot Football Championship — and Bill Heidermann, parishioner of the Church of Our Lady of the Good Counsel in Vienna, will once again witness an astonishing dream come true.

Bill’s son, Brian – a 1994 graduate of Bishop O’Connell High School and parishioner of St. Michael’s Church in Annandale – was home on summer vacation when a car crash took his life. A first-year engineering student at the University of Notre Dame, Brian was known for his kindness, humor, and creativity.

“Brian was someone who loved his family, his friends, and Notre Dame,” said Bell, an engineering graduate at Notre Dame. “And we all loved it.”

No doubt Brian’s combination of intelligence and imagination inspired a drawing – illustrating a fictional robot for football players – that Bell discovered several years after his son’s death.

“I guess he could have done that when he was supposed to be listening to an engineering lecture,” Bell laughed.

Amused and mesmerized, the picture remained with him. After successfully convincing Notre Dame to hold an Energy Ethics Conference, Bell later encouraged him to pitch the idea of ​​robotic soccer to them.

“I said,” Brian drew a robotic soccer player; What if Notre Dame could bring the synergy and tradition of football there, to the bots? That’s when I started working on the plan.” Bell asked another Notre Dame engineering graduate—Skib Horvath, a parishioner of St James’s Church in Falls Church, and eventually Pell’s fellow university commissioner—to review it.” I said, ‘Can you take a look at this idea,’ And see if that’s crazy?” Horvath enthusiastically endorsed the concept.

In 2006, a proposal was sent to the outgoing Dean of the Notre Dame School of Engineering. Two years later, the new dean – Peter Kilpatrick, current president of the Catholic University of America in Washington – gave the green light for the project. “I kept Brian in mind, and I felt like we were still doing things together,” Bell said. Finally, April 20, 2012, the Stepan Center in Notre Dame hosted the first intercollegiate robot football game between the Fighting Irish and Ohio Northern University. Notre Dame won 26-7.

So how does robotic football work?

Remote-controlled “players”—small motorized, wheeled platforms with sports sensors, infrared, mechanical and computerized devices and their jersey numbers—collide with each other with a repulsive force similar to their human counterparts.

Centers compete under NCAA-modified collegiate football rules, with the aid of miniature servo balls for players behind the center, while recipients can take delivery passes or “catch” passes into the attached boxes. The referee screams, and the ‘injured’ robots are pulled into the sidelines to fix it. It’s a fast-moving, precisely calibrated dance that brilliantly mimics the real thing, while teaching engineering and STEM principles are invaluable for future student employment.

“Many of our students have gained internships and full-time jobs because of their involvement in robotic football,” said Craig Goehler, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Notre Dame. “Being part of a multidisciplinary team—mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science—helps demonstrate our students’ ability to work effectively with other engineers to create complex electromechanical systems.”

The winner’s award, based on Brian’s drawing dubbed the Brian Hederman Memorial Cup, features a fully realized robotic sculpture by Thomas Marsh (see related story). Bill Hederman was inspired to commission him after reading a file Catholic Herald An article about a glimpse of a life-size statue of Mary, created by Marsh for St. Peter’s Church in Washington, Virginia. A scholarship fund also memorialized Brian, and his friends planted a memorial tree in Notre Dame in 1996.

Childhood friend Father J.D. Jaffe, pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling, said Brian’s life was short, “but full of influence.”

“On the day of the funeral, there were so many people who came to pay their respects and pray for Brian and his family that it was still one of the longest funeral processions I’ve seen,” he recalls. “I still have a cross around my neck on my shoulder that is engraved on my back,” said Father Jaffe, Brian H. 7/26/95. “Reminds me to pray for him and ask for the intercession prayer.”

Hetherington works as a freelancer in Alexandria.

#College #Football #Robotics #Arlington #Catholic #Herald

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *