Where others see problems, engineers seek solutions. So it was for the Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineering undergrads for the school's home basketball game against the more highly touted in-state rival the University of Virginia.
Attendance at Cassell Colesium was limited to only 250 fans, so to help cheer Hokie basketball to victory, the engineers rigged three rows of cardboard cutouts to move side-to-side during moments when the team needed some fan support.
With Virginia Tech's home game out of the way, now the Hokies must wonder whether the Cavaliers will have any mechanized fans waiting for them when the teams meet in Charlottesville. Whatever might happen it can't be as distracting as the time Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps decided to help Arizona State basketball by standing behind the goal in his skimpy race suit!
In both cases, the efforts seemed to work, as Phelps's distraction seemingly led to two missed free throws and the mechanized Hokie cardboard cutouts contributed to Virginia Tech's eventual 65-51 victory over UVA.