This Week in VR Sport: Motor racing, Skateboarding and BMX

It’s the weekend again, with Formula One qualifying and Wimbledon tennis happening in the UK, so VRFocus is getting into the spirit of things with its weekly look at things that cross over virtual reality (VR) and sports.

ESPN’s X Games Streams In VR

Happening over this weekend, having begun on the 13th July, and running until the 16th July is the Minneapolis X Games, an annual extreme sport event that is considered to be one of the most prestigious events in the extreme sport world.

This year, sports channel ESPN is livestreaming the event in VR. The livestreaming is in partnership with Samsung, so Samsung Gear VR users will be able to watch coverage of three events, Skateboard Vert, BMX Street and Skateboard Street Amateurs using the dedicated app. The livestream will also feature commentary and analysis and will be available in 48 countries.

Acura Hosts AR Livestream Race

In order to showcase its upcoming new all-wheel-drive A-Spec car, Acura hosted a contest called What A Race, an augmented reality (AR) driving experience that was livestreamed on Facebook.

Getting behind the wheel of the Acura 2018 TLX A-Spec, four drivers competed for the fastest lap time. Each lap triggered a different AR course that only the driver could see, using the different obstacles to highlight each of the new Acura vehicle’s capabilities. Cameras mounted on the driver’s helmets gave viewers a direct look at the action, in addition to cameras that were placed across the race track.

There was also interactive elements to the race, with viewers being prompted to react to various prompts in order to clear obstacles for the drivers to help their favoured driver succeed.

“The team patched into the TLX’s ABS system to accurately track the vehicle’s wheel speed and direction,” Acura said. “To further mitigate any potential technical snafus during the race, the team custom fabricated a device attached to the under carriage of the vehicle, allowing the location of the car in the AR world to be automatically reset remotely and quickly, as needed.”

The helmets used by the drivers have AR functionality built right in, with a full-colour 80-degree display and HD mirrored lens technology in order to provide a better field of view, along with a gyroscope to monitor head movements. The helmets are connected to a computer in the back seat that provided the AR rendering needed.

More sport and VR/AR action will no doubt be available next weekend here at VRFocus.