VRFocus

This Week In VR Sport: Refreshment And Redemption

Welcome to Saturday, you’ve officially made it through the week. A week in which, at least for those of us at VRFocus was dominated by darkness and rain. We’re a mere day away from diving head-first into October and in the UK at least we’ve waved goodbye to a calm and pleasant Summer and Autumn is most definitely here. The changing of the seasons does not slow the news relating to linking sport to immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), however. So, we’d best go over some of stories that have come out recently – and it turns out that it’s quite an AR filled week.

An AR Helmet Gets A New Lease Of Life

We start off in the world of AR and news that a previously dead-in-the-water project has received a new lease of life. The project in question is that of the Skully motorcycle helmet, one of a number of helmet related AR projects that have been popping up over the last few years – more on those later.

A project that initially raised over $15 million (USD), for creators Mitch and Marcus Weller with $2.5 million of that coming over from Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the whole project collapsed into bankruptcy following a scandal involving the misuse of company funds for, among other things, visits to strip clubs, hiring a lamborghini and renting an apartment. There was a lawsuit and backers were left somewhat in the lurch. It was all a bit of a mess.

New investors Ivan Contreras and Rafael Contreras have acquired the assets of the company however and the project, once again, lives with a new website and an announcement due on October 16th about the project going forward. What will it be? Most anything is better than what happened, so stay tuned to find out more. You can also find out more on the new website for the project which bears the mantra “determined to make it right”.

Time will, obviously, tell.

Chiefs Fans: Refresh Your Tastebuds, And Your Memories

It might well be in the headlines for other reasons at the moment, but no one can deny that when it comes to immersive technologies the teams of the NFL have more than taken an interest. Be it VR or AR we’ve had many a story, often featured as a part of This Week In VR Sport, of teams and the organisation itself partnering with technology firms, introducing new techniques for training and analysis, new ways to watch games, see their teams in action outside of match day and show their colours. Every team from the Denver Broncos, to the New York Jets and from the 49ers to the Patriots have featured previously. As have the Kansas City Chiefs, and it is they once again who are getting involved with the technology – this time with AR.

The Chiefs have announced a new partnership with Coca-Cola and Pittsburgh-based mobile AR app developers YinzCam.  Fans will be able to buy specially branded Coke cans which when scanned via a camera mode in the team’s official mobile app (available for both Android and iOS) will reveal a video highlight of the Chiefs in action. With an additional game involving locating six special codes in the highlights for a chance to win a trip to the Chiefs’ match against the Dallas Cowboys in November.

The campaign, called “Coca-Cola Refreshing Moments in Chiefs History” is very similar to other campaigns involving the soft drinks brand that we have seen in the past.

“We’re excited to team up with our long-term partner Coca-Cola for this campaign that features a new interactive and innovative way for fans to engage in the Chiefs Mobile app.” Said Chiefs President Mark Donovan, “Thanks to our partners at YinzCam, we are using new and exciting technology to offer our fans this unique experience.”

“As augmented reality has continued to increase in popularity, we have continued to build out our in-house development team, to the point that AR is now one of our core competencies” CEO and Founder of YinzCam, Priya Narasimhan also added in the press release. “We are proud of our collaboration with the Chiefs to develop this unique partner activation, that not only gives Coca-Cola a dynamic branding opportunity, but creates an entertaining and memorable AR experience for Kansas City fans.”

You can see a representation of the app in action below.

Remember how we were talking about AR and motorcycle helmets earlier? We’re back there again, though this time it’s more about a heads-up display (HUD) and the ability to see all around you courtesy of CrossHelmet who join the likes of Skully earlier, DAQRI and others who could be bringing advancements in helmet technology to amateur and professional riders alike.

Having launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month, CrossHelmet have, with 12 days still to go at the time of writing, have more than securing funding for their product. Blitzing their initial goal of $100,000 (USD) and trebling it to over £300,000. The team are now working towards their first stretch goal.

Speaking via an update on the campaign, the Crosshelmet team said “We’re incredibly humbled that we’re able to launch as part of Kickstarter Japan and thankful to all the people who have helped us plan our campaign.”

VRFocus will bring you more news about CrossHelmet and the next proposed steps for the product when the crowdfunding campaign comes to an end.

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