The reality of virtual reality

Sport is about more than simply participating or watching it from the sofa. It is one of the most immersive and emotionally driven experiences. Think about how your heart pounds when you are watching your soccer team attempting to score the winning goal or trying to hold out a small points margin in an important match.

At home you create the atmosphere, in a bar you might have 100 others helping, but it is nothing compared to the thousands that pack into a stadium and are watching the action live.

Similarly with athletes, if you are stepping up to take a match winning pass or to make a vital interception, if you are doing it against your friends you get partial experience, the nerves increase if you are doing it in front of a hundred spectators at a small match. However it is hard to imitate what it is like to go out in front of tens of thousands of fans and the world’s media, until now.

This is thanks to virtual reality, something that several companies have been using to try and recreate the experience of either having the best seat in the house at a stadium or being in the heart of the action on the field.


Most of these technologies are currently being built through the use of the Occulus Rift, a virtual reality headset that allows the user to be completely immersed in the experience. It has the ability to give a 360 degree field of vision, meaning that you can turn around and see what is behind you, to your left, right or straight ahead. It essentially gives you the same perspective as if you were within the experience itself.

The benefits of this for sports fans are clear, you can get the amazing stadium experience from wherever you are in the world. It opens up a new frontier of potential broadcasting techniques and Pay Per View options, but it also means that sports fans who may not be able to ever get to a game can experience what it would be like.

Companies have noticed how this could be a potential game changer in terms of changing the ways in which athletes can train. Using the Occulus Rift and videos of plays shot from the perspective of the players means players can train for longer and better giving them a better understanding of what the atmosphere and tension will be like when match day comes.

The perspective allows players to see the speed at which they need to react, what they will literally be seeing around them and the pressures that come from playing in a high stakes environment. Data collected can then be analysed and results used to implement improvements.

Virtual reality training is what will give players the chance to experience real game scenarios and become attuned to them. It has the potential to train their minds in the same way that traditional on-field training sessions tune their bodies.

With technology playing an ever more vital role in sports training and entertainment; teams, federations and the media are having to adopt new practices. This has produced a surge of jobs within the sports industry for tech minded individuals. Positions ranging from performance data analysts to ‘Fantetainment’ managers are utilising the latest innovations to bring fans improved ways to enjoy the beautiful game.

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This content was provided by Innovation Enterprise. Find the full article at 

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