Sports industry gears up for virtual reality revolution
By James PHEBY
London (AFP) Oct 11, 2018

From training with Major League Baseball pitchers to bone-jangling racing on board an F1 car, technology's potential to revolutionise sport was the hot topic as industry leaders met in London this week.

"It's going to disrupt all aspects of sport that you can imagine," virtual reality expert Michael Ludden told the two-day Leaders Sport Business Summit at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium.

Ludden said that virtual and augmented reality -- together known as mixed reality (MR) -- would transform sport for professionals, amateurs and spectators.

"American footballers are already using VR to better train their minds, read the field," allowing quarterbacks to hone their skills without risking injury, he said.

"You can train with a real baseball bat that's tracked in virtual reality against real pitchers using data from those pitchers... giving you advanced analytics on how the swing is," added Ludden, who has worked for IBM and Google.

With the price of headsets such as Facebook's Oculus Rift falling, MR also promises to allow amateurs the experience of facing a 100 mph pitch from the safety of their living room.

While MR immerses the user aurally and visually, other developing technologies are beginning to recreate the physical reality of top-level sports, opening up a whole new world of spectator experience.

Canadian company D-BOX Technologies, which designs and manufactures moving seats found in cinemas and theme parks, is now moving into sports, showing off their Formula One simulator at the London event.

The seats mimic the G-Force and every judder as F1 champion Lewis Hamilton races around the Monaco circuit.

The simulation seat uses pre-programmed data but could use real-time information sent by the car, allowing spectators to pick their driver and experience their full Grand Prix adventure, said Veronique Maheu, director at D-BOX.

"You would need... data sent straight from the car -- tyre slip ratio, suspension, acceleration -- we can take this minimal information and transform it.

"They could broadcast live content through a network in pop-up theatres around the world," she said, adding that the company intended to roll out the experience at fan zones on the F1 circuit.

- Augmented stadiums -

The technology can be adapted to help train athletes in other sit-down sports such as rowing, and Maheu said she had received interest from members of the horse-racing industry.

Telemetric sensors could also be placed on sports fields, balls and on players to remotely recreate the visceral reality of NFL, football or baseball, or even enhance reality.

"If you want to have the stress of the baseball player while he gets to the plate, you can have a heartbeat added to the sensation on the seat and then you can feel it, boom, boom," she explained.

"When he swings and hits the ball, you can have an impact."

The seats currently cost $10,000 each, putting them out of the reach of the armchair fan.

However, headsets and the development of VR suits hold out the possibility that fans around the world could one day physically experience every tackle, touchdown and goal from their favourite player in real time.

VR expert Ludden also said that current and near-future technology could create "augmented stadiums" for live spectators.

Panasonic pitched their "Smart Venue" plans at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas, which included the overlaying of graphics, advertisements, player statistics and replays on the field of play at an NFL game.

"If you are sat in the nose-bleeds (cheap seats), I can see this being really useful," he said.

MR could also revolutionise half-time entertainment by allowing fans to join in stadium-wide games, using the pitch as a platform, he added.






Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Facebook unveils upgraded wireless Oculus headset in VR push
San Jose, United States (AFP) Sept 27, 2018
Facebook on Wednesday unveiled an upgraded Oculus virtual reality headset with power to handle the intensive graphics of digital worlds in a wire-free experience. The new Oculus Quest headset showcased at the Facebook unit's developer conference is being aimed at gamers seeking immersion in virtual worlds, with other potential applications likely in the future. "This is the wireless virtual reality experience we have been waiting for," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said as he unveiled ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA, UAE Space Agency sign arrangement for cooperation in human spaceflight

UN is only option in multilateral discussion of outer space

Crew of Soyuz MS-10 lands in Kazakhstan after launch failure

Branson says Virgin Galactic to launch space flight 'within weeks'

United Launch Alliance building rocket of the future with industry-leading strategic partnerships

Pentagon awards over $1Bln for development of new rocket launch systems

Crew of Soyuz rocket survive emergency landing after engine problem

Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Tests Hypersonic DMRJ Engine

Painting cars for Mars

Novel Technique Quickly Maps Young Ice Deposits and Formations on Mars

Curiosity rover operating on backup computer during repairs to main processor

Curiosity Rover to Temporarily Switch 'Brains'

China launches Centispace-1-s1 satellite

China tests propulsion system of space station's lab capsules

China unveils Chang'e-4 rover to explore Moon's far side

China's SatCom launch marketing not limited to business interest

Source reveals timing of OneWeb satellites' debut launch on Soyuz

French Space Agency opens new office in the UAE

Maxar's SSL Continues Positive Momentum in Growing US Government Pipeline

Space techpreneur to set up over $100m venture unit

Blue phosphorus mapped and measured for the first time

High entropy alloys hold the key to studying dislocation avalanches in metals

Light melts matter differently than heat, study shows

Researchers quickly harvest 2-D materials, bringing them closer to commercialization

Life-long space buff and Western graduate student discovers exoplanet

How the seeds of planets take shape

NASA should expand search for life in the universe: NAS Report

The stuff that planets are made of

Icy warning for space missions to Jupiter's moon

New Horizons sets up for New Year's flyby of Ultima Thule

Hunt for Planet X reveals the Goblin, a faraway dwarf planet

While seeking Planet X, astronomers find a distant solar system object