Some schools have cheerleaders do push-ups after the football team scores. Others have mascots do the honors. At Virginia Tech, they have turned the job over to a robot.
A wholly unremarkable college football game, on Friday night, produced something remarkable. The Virginia Tech Hokies did not do much to write home about on the field, but on the sideline, a robot celebrated the few points they scored in its way.
On Friday night, as Virginia Tech was taking on Duke in an ACC matchup, the robotic pride of the Hokies was shown off to a national audience. With Virginia Tech leading Duke 3-0, the push-up robot was given a chance to get pumped up.
ESPN’s broadcast captured footage of a robot that does pushups for every point Virginia Tech scores. When the Hokies kicked a field goal to go up 3-0 in the first quarter, the robot did three quick pushups to show support for the home team.
It should come as no surprise Virginia Tech would have a robot for this kind of sideshow. After all, Virginia Tech’s mechanical engineering department is known for all kinds of robotic innovations, including robots for farming.
This is either a neat, futuristic gimmick or a case of rampant automation claiming another human job. Sideline pushups used to be the domain of cheerleaders and mascots. For example, Kansas State University’s mascot Willie the Wildcat is the king of the touchdown pushup.
Unfortunately, the robot did not get any other chances to strut its stuff in that game. Duke quickly took control of the match and shattered the Hokies to the tune of a 45-10 final score.
But on a night when not a lot went right for the home team, at least there are viral clips of a quadrupedal robot awkwardly doing pushups.