Because we all need a robot to dunk on

We’ve known for a long time now that our robot overlords are coming after our jobs. But you might not have guessed that one of those jobs was shot-blocker. A Minneapolis hardware startup called JockLab has created a basketball-training robot that plays tenacious D. The robot, called D-Up, looks sort of like someone affixed a cardboard cutout atop a Roomba. D-Up follows a shooter around a basketball court with its “hands” up, trying to keep a human player from scoring.

The company took first place in the Twin Cities’ BETA Showcase, a tech competition for early-stage companies. It’s also developed partnerships with universities, including Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the University of St. Thomas. 

The startup is also working closely with the athletes that will eventually use its end product. JockLab Founder and CEO Alijah Nelson says, “When I put videos up, a lot of coaches reach out asking to know more. We’ve had a lot of good conversations.”

We tip our hat to the students from Gustavus Adolphus College who created the robot and the company.