For VRFocus’ virtual reality (VR) roundup of all things sport related, this week there’s UK Premier League football team Stoke City embracing VR training, NBA team the Sacramento Kings have unveiled their new uniform using an augmented reality (AR) app and American football team The Ravens are using Microsoft’s mixed reality (MR) headset, Hololens, in their training.
Stoke City Partners with Beyond Sports to Use its VR Training Services
Dutch company Beyond Sports has announced that Premier League football team Stoke City will be partnering with the company so the team can use VR to analyse matches and training their goalkeepers.
The club will start using the technology at the start of the season, with Beyond Sports using real match data to create scenarios based on a certain game-plan or a very specific approach. The focus will be on the keepers first where positioning is a crucial part of the play.
As well as a tailored approach, Beyond Sports also offers a plug and play service, where players can use the company’s own ready-made scenarios. The training covers four disciplines, spatial awareness (which re-creates match moments from every angle); high density (a series of match moments in a short space of time); decision-making, and high pressure (simulating match situations.
This isn’t the first time Beyond Sports has partnered with a UK football team. Two years ago it collaborated with Arsenal.
Sacramento Kings Reveal New Uniform Using AR
It’s not just training that sports teams are using immersive technology for. The NBA features quite often in VRFocus’ weekly sports feature and that’s not about to change. This week has seen the Sacramento Kings unveil their new Nike uniforms using a AR app.
Using the Kings + Golden 1 Center app, fans will be able to see Kings veteran Garrett Temple, wearing the new uniforms and elaborates on the new features of the team’s on-court look. As an interactive feature fans will be able to customise their own jersey, virtually ‘frame’ and ‘hang’ the new look on their wall and photograph themselves with Temple.
“Through technology, we’re able to put the latest in uniform design right in the hands of basketball fans around the world with an unprecedented amount of information and detail,” said Kings Chief Technology Officer Ryan Montoya. “The partnership between Nike and the NBA is rooted in creativity and transformative design and with our augmented reality experience, we’re building on that long-standing tradition.”
The new Nike purple Icon Edition and white Association Edition uniforms will be available for purchase this Fall. Last year’s uniforms were also unveiled using similar tech, with a 360-degree video showcasing 2016’s designs.
The Baltimore Ravens to use MR Training on the Field
Lastly, there’s the Baltimore Ravens, an American football team which has partnered up with VR/AR and MR tech startup Mixed River to utilise MR training using Microsoft HoloLens, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Going in a different direction to companies like STRIVR who use VR headsets for training purposes, Mixed River creates holographic simulations using Unity. This allows players to move and react to the holograms as they would do in real life.
Currently the Ravens and Mixed River have signed a one-year deal. The team has got the equipment so that they can load their own plays and watch simulations on monitors, with coaches able to configure stances and movements. The next step in the coming months will be to employ HoloLens properly for players to train on the field. This may just depend on how many headsets they can get hold of rather than the actual $3,000 USD price.