Cardboard cutouts of fans come to life for Virginia Tech basketball

If you’ve been watching any Virginia Tech basketball, you may have noticed something different happening in the stands.

During recent Virginia Tech basketball games, if you look in the stands, you may see rows of fans, side by side.

But in this pandemic age, the only fans sitting that close together are the ones made of cardboard, which are cutouts made to look like fans. They aren’t just sitting still in the seats as an announcer noticed in a recent game, either.

“They have rigged the cardboard cutouts to start rocking when Virginia Tech gets on a run. That is awesome,” the ESPN announcer called out as he saw the cutouts sway from side to side in the stands.

Members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at Virginia Tech are the students behind the cutouts.

Andrew Choi said the idea was to bring a little more fun to the atmosphere at Cassell Stadium.

“We really wanted to imitate fans being there and moving around,” Choi said. “It’s also right behind the basket. It’s the Cassell guard section. So that way it will distract the other team when they shoot a basket, hopefully.”

So how does it work? He said they have a simple DC motor that revolves around a shaft. Attached to that is a crank arm, which attaches to a coupler, which attaches to a rocker. When you put it all together and attach the cutouts, you have rows of cardboard fans swaying back and forth in their seats.

They also brought in 12-volt, deep-cycle marine batteries strong enough to put out enough power to last the entire game.

See video of the “fans” in action below.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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