Imagine stepping into a pod with a golf club and suddenly being transported to Pebble Beach. The gameplay seems almost real, and you’re competing against someone else in another pod 500 miles away. This is not a scene from a futuristic movie – it’s a technology that actually exists. Extended reality (XR) is giving sports another chance in the age of social distancing and beyond.
Social distancing has meant that many people can’t compete in the sports they love, which can add stress to an already stressful situation. Extended reality sports can remedy that by allowing players to experience real-feeling gameplay and actual competition.
Extended reality encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. The technology has been used most recently in offices for virtual meetings of up to 20 people with Fram VR and for lifelike travel experiences with Oculus Quest.
Extended reality uses motion tracking, biomechanical modeling, and machine learning to create experiences that seem to meld with our surroundings. In XR sports that means real sporting equipment, like golf clubs, instead of controllers. Body movement is tracked and gameplay is synthesized based on that.
XR involves a lightweight headset instead of a full VR headset so players can still see around themselves. Cameras and monitors record movements and send them to a physics engine to translate them into the game. The AI takes over from there, adapting gameplay to a player’s inputs, generating a realistic game outcome.
In a real-world application of this technology such as Sportstacular, players enter a socially distanced pod in a gaming center that offers multiple sports in more than 100 sporting simulators. Players can compete in realistic gameplay against players in other cities for a realistic competition.
Extended reality is changing the way we travel and do business during the pandemic, but it’s also giving us new opportunities to connect with our favorite sports. Learn more about XR sports below.