MLSE, Amazon bringing AR, VR to sports viewing

The reporter at the Scotiabank Arena's practice court tried the virtual reality as part of the Immersive Basketball Experience, launched by MLSE and AWS & # 39;s SpaceX initiative.  It allows the viewer to see life-size 3D renderings of sports games.  (Credit: MLSE)

The reporter tried the virtual reality as part of the Immersive Basketball Experience, launched by MLSE Ditigal Labs and Amazon Web Services’ SportsX program. It allows the viewer to see life-size 3D renderings of sports games. (Credit: MLSE)

If you just walk into the Scotiabank Arena practice gym on Monday evening, you’ll find a room full of reporters, producers, and representatives from Amazon Web. Services (AWS) and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).

What you won’t see now is a 3D rendering of mannequins, representing players from the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks, recreating their recent NBA championship. That is until you put on an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) headset.

With headphones, you can put yourself directly in the action. Players come to life in front of you, giving you the opportunity to follow them from base to base, or just sit on the court – whatever you want has given you the best view of the prevention of explosion and explosion.

“It’s a glimpse of the future,” said Humza Teherany, MLSE’s Chief Technology and Digital Officer.

MLSE Digital Labs and AWS have partnered to create SportsX, a new research and innovation platform. His first step is to introduce AR and VR to change the way we can consume professional sports. That is both for the fans’ experience and helps to improve the team’s performance, because the players and coaches can repeat the time to help with their training.

As part of the January 24 event, MLSE and AWS introduced several changes in how AR and VR headsets can be used to display the data they collect. It allows those wearing the headset to immerse themselves directly in the action, or even receive real-time information as part of their perspective while watching the game. – such as during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ matchup against the New York Islanders on Monday night. .

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“Frankly, this has not been done anywhere else in the world,” Teherany said.

“The importance of this project is to create the future of sports from Toronto, to the rest of the world and so that we can use the good things in MLSE. Hope it becomes comparable limited to the rest of the world’s sports.”

How technology works

The “Immersive Basketball Experience” uses a combination of visual physical processing data – such as the position of each joint and leg – 3D modeling and a video game engine. The result is a life-size way to recreate the game, as the players are placed in 3D around you.

For the NBA experience, MLSE and AWS have used in-game cameras that are available throughout all areas, to collect the necessary information. The same knowledge can be applied to the NHL game, while there is progress in other sports such as Formula 1 to obtain biomechanical data, as we can expect this knowledge Come to every game.

For the NHL, the experience can be even more authentic, since the league uses “NHL Edge.” To collect data, the NHL uses infrared technology that is embedded in pucks and in players’ jerseys – data that is sent to – this – AWS outpost in Scotiabank Arena. This technology allows the tracking of every movement of the game, paving the way for the “Extreme Reality Broadcast” feature of the AR or VR headset.

When watching an NHL game, viewers can access an overlay that shows statistics for both teams, such as puck possession, speed and distance. Using the laser feature as part of a remote with a headset, viewers can choose a player, such as Auston Matthews, to focus on to get specific stats.

“You can enjoy the game, while seeing statistics and information in real time everywhere,” said Teherany, noting that this can be used by the spinner air hockey enthusiast or someone who studies the game.

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The reporter wears a mask

A reporter wears a “reality” headset as he watches the Toronto Maple Leafs play the New York Islanders on Jan. 23, allowing him to use the NHL Extended Reality Stats Overlay to access real-time stats. of the game. (MLSE)

Future use: Arenas for everyday life

Now, the price of several thousand dollars, and the size of the headphones, is still a challenge to get it to the masses. Teherany says that when an innovation like Apple’s true glasses comes out, it will change the business, and we can expect that these features can be used according to the size of your glasses daily.

Eric Gales, country manager for AWS Canada, says the big change in the market in recent years is before you needed a lot of gear to do AR or VR experiences. Now, thanks to all the data they have in the cloud, they are ready to leave this knowledge when there is a viable option to make it important.

The “Extended Reality Stats Overlay” is an experience MLSE wants to provide to its fans in arenas. It will contribute to the best view, especially for those who sit high in the crowd. A similar statistic – no headphones – also appeared at the big meeting in the Scotiabank Arena – which could become an object in its luxury.

Spectators in Scotiabank Arena can use the panel to track players in real time, such as their movements, puck possession, speed and distance.  (Credit: MLSE)

Spectators in Scotiabank Arena can use the panel to track players in real time, such as their movements, puck possession, speed and distance. (Credit: MLSE)

Outside the theater, there is a problem of figuring out how to license these games for AR and VR use – since the publishing rights are from Rogers and Bell.

For the Immersive Basketball Experience for playing NBA games, the members of MLSE and AWS want to expand its capabilities as far as people’s homes for everyday use. Having spoken to many manufacturers, the real time is 5-10 years, given the price and the serious problem of the headphones.

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Christian Magsisi, MLSE’s vice president of space and technology, explained that for a life-size version of the player, you need to have a bigger space and fit more again. For example, if you want to be next to the life-size Kawhi Leonard during his famous 2019 game-winning shot, you will need a big place like a gym or a park.

But with the potential of AR and VR, users will be able to create experiences from a small space such as even a sofa, helping them see the action unfolding in front of them.

Create a competitive advantage

One benefit of the VR and AR experience is for the professional sports clubs at MLSE. Magsisi says it allows players and coaches to recreate important moments of their games and learn from them.

“This allows us to create a competitive advantage,” Magsisi said, noting that members of the Raptors and Leafs are already testing out the technology.

Instead of needing 10 players in real life to create a unique game on an NBA court, you can use AR or VR to make that moment come to life. Players and coaches can also watch or replay games with a headset that shows them important stats while the action unfolds, giving them a chance to see what’s available Good for their team.

Gales also notes that this intervention can improve their understanding of injuries, and how to avoid them to improve the safety of players. This type of data and new research has been a focus for the NFL in partnership with AWS since 2019.

Get people involved

With the development of visual experiences and teams to get competitive, SportsX is doing itself on the concept of social participation. They want the fans to help guide them to future ideas through submissions, but are also experimenting with AR and VR experiences.

“We’ve been watching sports the same way for a long time. To give people a real face is a big change. So we have to ease people into it. So even It’s going to happen sooner, I think it’s going to take some time for people to really accept it.”

Interested parties can start registering immediately at sportsx.io to test the technology themselves.

More info from Yahoo Sports

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