Rugby is a sport that confounds many in America, but for those with even a passing knowledge of it, it’s one that still impresses with its athleticism and protection-free contact. One of its components is the scrum: “An ordered formation of players in which the forwards of each team push against up against each other with arms interlocked and heads down.” To train for these, the French rugby federation developed, in conjunction with Thales (an electrical systems company), a sophisticated six-legged robot that goes right up against the players and helps them perfect their technique.
The core reason for its development was to analyze the scrum accidents to avoid any spinal cord injuries to players but later on it was also used for coaching and match preparations for rugby players. As compared to other such simulators this one uses six-axis motion system which responds to the player’s strength input via sensors on the back side beam and shoulder pads.
It has been permanently stationed at the French national rugby training centre in Marcoussis, near Paris, since June 2010, but has lately started making waves again since it was featured in an Adidas ad. So head on over to the rest of the article to see those videos and maybe even follow some more informative links.