Virtual reality (VR) is already being applied to sports broadcasting. Companies such as Samsung, NextVR and OTOY are all experimenting sports such as basketball and ice hockey in an attempt to figure out how best to bring the year’s biggest events to head-mounted displays (HMDs). What we haven’t seen much of yet, however, is sports training in VR. It’s a strange concept at first thought, but one that could go a long way to helping improving team’s and athlete’s performance in the long term. One of the first groups to utilise the technology in this way is popular football team, The Dallas Cowboys.
Re/Code has reported that the Texas-based team has reached a two-year agreement with a VR studio based in Stanford, StriVR Labs, which includes former Stanford University kicker, Derek Belch. The company is working software that allows players to rewatch live-action replays from the first-person perspective of a quarterback. It aims to help teach these players decision-making skills and allow them to practice without needing to gather the rest of the team onto a field. StriVR Labs has previously signed deals with Arkansas, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Dartmouth.
It’s an intriguing use of the technology that smartly doesn’t seem to be using early VR technology to ask players to run around in virtual environments. While HMDs are improving at a rapid rate, VR is yet to reach a point where it could confidently deliver this kind of experience without causing at least some its users to start feeling sick. Perhaps this option may be more viable in the future but, for now, using 360 degree video to help educate players seems like a much smarter user of VR.
VRFocus will continue to follow any and all uses for VR, reporting back with the latest updates on the tech.