Franklin High's robot dog 'Cornelius' performs with cheerleaders

Franklin High robot dog 'Cornelius' performs with cheerleaders
Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 07:31:58-05

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — When you're new at a school, it can be hard to know how you're going to stand out in a crowd. The newest addition to Franklin High has no problem standing out.

"I was not expecting something like this at all," smiled senior Nima Aref.

A robot dog walked into the Franklin High gym. Students including Nima have named the robot dog Cornelius.

Franklin High got Cornelius through a grant, and Nima's coding class has been operating him.

"We're the only school in the world who has this dog," he said. "This is Boston Dynamics who made this. They're a bunch of MIT and Harvard graduates. The dog has 20 different cameras and sensors on it, which allows it to see its surroundings, do obstacle detection, and then we're able to control it with our computer."

To give Cornelius a grand introduction to the school, Nima's class got an idea; have Cornelius perform with the Franklin High cheerleaders.

Cheerleader Caroline Neidigh remembers the first time she saw Cornelius.

"I saw it in the hallway, and I was like, 'what is going on?'" she laughed.

It was decided that Cornelius would make an appearance with the cheerleaders at the Centennial versus Franklin game during the halftime show.

"This past week, we've been working on this every day," said Nima, referring to the choreography they created for Cornelius. "We have to get this working."

On the night of the game, it wasn't just the basketball team and cheerleaders feeling the pressure. It was also Nima.

"Because there's a chance it could just go on the floor and collapse and just not work, it's been a challenge," he said. "I'm very nervous about it."

Showtime came. Cornelius and the cheerleaders performed to the cheers of the crowd.

"To see it work was really exciting," said Nima. "I feel like having this opportunity was great."