Monday, January 19, 2015

(I'm not sure I like) Augmented Reality

Okay, I'm sure everyone reading this has at least heard of "virtual reality", even if he or she can't necessarily define it.  I will get to that a little later, though.

As for right now, I'm directing your attention towards Chris Kluwe's TED presentation on "augmented reality", which to me is yet another -- rather scary -- proposition all together...



As I said earlier, this augmented thing sounds a little scary to me, and I don't think it's something I'm in a hurry to see implemented in either professional or amateur sports.  Do I believe it might be adapted and used for just teaching?  Ya, could be.

In fact, forms of "virtual reality" are already making inroads into the training of athletes, with a number of highly regarded institutions taking the lead.

Actually, virtual reality has been around for some time now, including in the world of computer games.  The photo to the right shows a contraption that might be familiar to my readers.  Usually used in combination with a computer generated activity -- like a game, or something physical, the glasses are worn to make one feel as if he or she is in the middle of the activity.

That -- allowing an athlete to feel like he or she is in the middle of a given physical activity -- would be awesome for development, I think.

I mean, imagine a football runningback wearing those glasses, and reacting to the various defensive players who (virtually) appear in front of him; imagine a hockey goaltender reacting to several consecutive (virtual) shots; and imagine a baseball outfielder reacting quickly to a (virtual) ball hit towards his left or right, behind him or in front of him.  Ya, and because I'm a hockey guy, I can picture a lot more uses -- like a defenseman reacting to an attacker, an attacker reacting to a number of defenders appearing in front of him, a group of players maybe reacting in defensive zone coverage, and...

A few more things...

Here's a video about an awesome virtual reality program currently in development...


A number of years ago, when I built my own off-ice training center -- known as The MOTION Lab, I added a number of the gadgets shown in the following video. 

What I came very close to getting is the electronic wall device that Manny Ramirez is reacting to near the middle of the video.  I think that device predates the virtual reality devices, but it's not far removed...


Lastly, I need to say again that I don't look forward to someday trying to watch any kind of sporting event on television that's going to be anything like augmented reality.  On the other hand, I'd love to have all the above shown virtual reality gadgets available to train my players.

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When doing some research for this post, I came across the article, "Inside The NBA's Plan To Give Every Fan A (Virtual Reality) Courtside Seat".  As you'll discover reading it, some form of "reality" isn't too far down the road for our viewing pleasure (or displeasure).