Engineering Meets Panther Football: Senior Design Football Sled

001.full (1)Florida Tech administration and students were really excited to establish our very first panther football team back in my freshman year. With the advancements the football team has made, and this being their second year competing against other teams, the school stands strong to support its team in any way.

This year, the mechanical engineering department at Florida Tech decided to combine the student’s engineering knowledge in order to create tools that would help the football players improve their skills, and therefore the FIT football sled senior design team was created.

For this project, students will design and create new attachments to put onto an already-existing football sled to vary the pushing resistance levels, and to record different kinematic and kinetic inputs of the forces going into the football sled. This allows for the team members to improve their skills and raise the level of difficulty as they practice in order to have a constant rate of improvement in skills. Recording and analyzing the different input and output forces for each player also allows the coaches to see what each person’s individual skillset is, and what that player can improve on.

This team, led by Alex Wright, is one of the smaller senior design groups, fully sponsored by the school itself. I sat down to speak with the team lead to ask some questions about his senior design project.

What do you expect to get out of being leader as opposed to just a member of the team?

As team lead, I expected to be the primary manager of my team, setting up meetings and assigning tasks, as well as helping out with all aspects of the project where needed. So far my expectations were pretty much true.

What do you expect to get out of your senior design project at the end of the year?

At the end of the year, I expect to get some technical experience working with computer programs such as ANSYS Workbench, NI LabVIEW and MS Office, along with some design and managerial experience.

 What is the biggest obstacle you think your team will have to overcome this semester?

Surprisingly enough, just managing to have a task assigned to each member and being able to share the workload. With 11 team members on this project, it’s hard enough to find something for everyone to do.

What are you most excited to work on for your project?

I would be most excited about programming with LabVIEW for the controller and then building the actual physical model of the intelligent football sled.

What past experience do you think helps you out the most with your project?

Some of my technical experience working with ANSYS and some programming skill helps me with the project. Concept generation from a small hobby viewpoint helped out and the fundamentals of some classes also proved useful in visualizing what would and wouldn’t work.


Keep in touch for more great senior design projects, Panthers!


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