Alabama Engineering Students Develop Football Privacy Tent

The SidelinER tent was issued a patent this year, will be used in football games this season.

As an athletic trainer for the University of Alabama, Jeff Allen saw a problem with the way athletes were evaluated during games. The team could either choose to take the athlete back into the locker room and take up valuable game time for an issue that might not need full evaluation, or the athlete could be examined on the sideline without an easy way to shield the body from the public or the other team. Working with engineering students Jared Cassity, Jared Porteous, Christian Parris, and Patrick Powell a portable tent now called the SidelinER was developed to give privacy on the sidelines.

The goals when designing the tent were to be transported by one person in two minutes, and operated up and down in five seconds. The system has already been deployed in more than two hundred college, high school and professional football teams, with gynmastics, golf, basketball, lacross, rugby, soccer and track events also using the tents. Patent 9,856,672 was awarded on January 2, 2018 for a ‘privacy tent’, one of the simplest patent names I’ve ever read.

Beyond the idea of a useful tool developed and implemented nationwide as a part of a senior design project, Allen has expressed the idea to use the tents in emergency response teams for disaster and military operations. The entire story here also includes an interesting look at how someone can approach the University of Alabama engineering group to develop a project, and how the Office for Technology Transfer works to get a project into the public. As the NCAA college football season starts this weekend I’m looking forward to seeing the tents in action.