EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — A pair of Northwestern University alums may have created the next big thing in football training, at least when it comes to skill position players.
The Seeker has some big time NFL players not only using their invention but investing in the company.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: A Few Rain And Snow Showers To Continue
As CBS 2’s Matt Zahn reported Thursday night, it’s a cool payoff after about five years of fine tuning.
George Kittle, N’Keal Harry, and Hunter Henry are just a few of the NFL stars using the Seeker – or as they nicknamed it during the pandemic, the quarantine QB. Northwestern alums Bhargav Maganti and Igor Karlicic created the device.
“We had a number of NFL athletes – they were home. They weren’t able to go to their camps. Things were shut down, and they didn’t really have a way to train alone,” Maganti said.
“It’s kind of like an older sibling you never had, except this one throws, you know, 60 miles an hour,” Karlicic said.
Maganti and Karlicic call the Seeker the world’s first robotic quarterback. But it’s not like a robot Tom Brady.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: State Reports Lowest Average Infection Rate In Two Weeks, But Hospitalizations Still Rising
It is a sophisticated, highly accurate football-thrower.
“You have a number of machines – passing machines – in different sports, in football as well, where the technology hadn’t changed for a really long time; where you have a person manually loading a device, pushing it through, and then the ball landing kind of wherever,” Maganti said. “I mean, sometimes in some of our demos we tell them, take a trash container, put it anywhere on the field, and that mark location -and we’ll hit it.”
“It’s such a different experience compared to anything that they’ve had before, so we lot of people get just so excited using it,” Karlicic said.
And now it has come full circle, as Maganti and Karlicic got to bring their seeker back to Northwestern – where the Wildcats are one of seven college football programs using the robotic QB to improve reps and help track performance.
“It was especially exciting because Northwestern had seen of some of our earlier prototypes, and they’d seen… the issues that we had early on, and it was particularly fun to go out there and have them see our completed product,” Maganti said.MORE NEWS: University Of Chicago Resumes In Person Classes After COVID Outbreak
Maganti said the Seeker already provides the receiver some feedback but he’s excited for it to eventually track reaction time and other data.