Just walk into the practice gym at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night and you’ll see a room full of reporters, developers, and representatives from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).
Not yet visible are 3D renderings of mannequins representing Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks players, recreating the latest NBA matchups. Until you put on your augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) headset.
Headsets allow you to virtually immerse yourself directly in the action. Players come to life in front of you, giving you the opportunity to follow them from baseline to baseline or simply sit courtside.
Humza Teherany, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at MLSE, said:
MLSE Digital Labs and AWS have partnered to launch a new research and development program, SpaceX. Its first initiative is to introduce augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to change the way we consume professional sports. This helps improve the fan experience and team performance. Because players and coaches can relive moments that help them in their training.
As part of the January 22nd launch, MLSE and AWS showed multiple variations of how the data they collect can be viewed using AR and VR headsets. Headset wearers can immerse themselves directly in the action or receive real-time stats as part of their perspective while watching the match. For example, Toronto his Maple his Leafs vs New York Islanders Monday night game. .
“Frankly, this is not done anywhere in the world,” said Teherany.
“The whole point of this program is to build the future of sport from Toronto to the rest of the world and make these great things available within MLSE. I hope to be a role model for
How technology works
The “Immersive Basketball Experience” uses a combination of optical tracking body pose data such as joint and limb positions, 3D models, and a video game development engine. As a result, you can relive the game in life-size as the player is rendered in 3D on him around you.
For the NBA Experience, MLSE and AWS utilize in-game cameras present in every arena to collect the necessary data. The same experience is available for NHL matches, but with advances in capturing biomechanical data in other professional sports such as Formula 1, we can expect this experience to be brought to all sports.
For the NHL, the experience is even more realistic as leagues are using the “NHL Edge”. The NHL uses infrared technology embedded in pucks and player jerseys to collect data. This information is relayed to his AWS base, in this case Scotiabank his arena. This technology enables tracking of every action part of the game, paving the way for the “Extended Reality Stats Overlay” feature in AR or VR headsets.
While watching an NHL game, viewers have access to an overlay that displays either team’s stats such as puck possession, speed, distance traveled, and more. Using the laser function as part of the remote control that comes with the headset, viewers can also select players individually, such as Ouston and his Matthews, to get specific stats.
“You can enjoy the game with real-time analytics and data in one place,” Teherany said, noting that this could be used by avid hockey fans and those learning the game.
Future uses: from arena to everyday life
Today, with costs in the thousands and sizes of headsets, getting it to large numbers of people remains a challenge. said it would.
Eric Gales, country manager for AWS Canada, said the big shift in the market in recent years was before we needed more equipment to render AR and VR experiences. Now, thanks to all the information collected on the cloud, we’re ready to bring this experience to life, provided we have an accessible option to make it mainstream.
The “Extended Reality Stats Overlay” is the experience MLSE wants to bring to fans inside the arena. A similar statistical experience (without the headset element) was also displayed on a table-sized panel at Scotiabank Arena. rice field.
Outside of the arena, there is the question of how to license these games for use in AR and VR. Because the broadcast rights are owned by Rogers and Bell.
Members of MLSE and AWS want to extend that capability into people’s homes for everyday use for the immersive basketball experience of professional NBA games. After talking to multiple developers, a realistic timeline for him is 5-10 years, given the aforementioned headset cost and size issues.
Christian Magsisi, MLSE’s vice president of venues and digital technology, explains that placing life-size players will require larger, more accommodating spaces. For example, life-size Kawhi in his 2019 game-winning shot infamous.He needs a large space like a gym or field if he wants to be right next to Leonard.
But with AR and VR capabilities, users can place the experience on a small surface, such as a tabletop, and watch the action unfold before their eyes.
Create a competitive advantage
One of the benefits of VR and AR experiences is for professional sports organizations that are part of MLSE. Magsisi says this allows players and coaches to recreate key moments of the game and learn from them.
“This allows us to create a competitive advantage,” Magsisi said, noting that members of the Raptors and Leafs are already testing the technology.
Instead of requiring 10 real players to recreate a particular play on an NBA court, you can use AR and VR to virtually bring that moment to life. Players and coaches can also use headset technology to watch or rewatch the game. This technology displays key stats as the action unfolds, giving you the opportunity to see exactly what’s contributing to your team’s play.
Gales also notes the implications of this for a better understanding of injuries and how to avoid them to improve player safety. This kind of data and groundbreaking research has been his NFL focus since 2019 in partnership with AWS.
get people involved
In addition to enhancing the viewing experience and helping teams gain a competitive edge, SpaceX is built on the concept of engaging the community. They want their fans to help guide them to future ideas through their submissions, but they also want them to experiment with AR and VR experiences.
“We have been watching sports the same way for a long time. Giving people virtual reality goggles is a big change. It could be, but I think it will take time, and it’s time for people to really adapt.”
Those interested can sign up on spacex.io today and test the technology for themselves.
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