“Catching a Real Ball in Virtual Reality” – An Unreal VR

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We have been listening about VR making such firm space in almost all sports. From basketball, to golf, to gaming; all forms of sports are adapting this newest interest of the audience.

The Disney research has taken a leap with being able to predict soccer movements, sports broadcasts by having automatically operated cameras after learning from manual operators and develop a ‘smart search’ for sports plays.

Disney Research has now developed a machine-aided task in real-time.

Geniuses of Gunter Niemeyer and Matthew K.X.J Pan have created a series of visual cues using a motion capture system which can allow any person wearing VR headset to catch a tennis ball in real life.

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Pan commented that the idea is really simple, “We chase few items by the 3D positioning and orientation of several objects in space including hands, head, the ball, etc. All the tracked objects are then inculcated in a 3D environment.”

After the successful experiment conducted by the two, Pan generated three ‘’assisstances’’ viz: visualization of the ball, ball’s trajectory and a target catching point.

Pan said that they use simple physical equations like F=mA and gravity to predict and generate the trajectory of object and an end target point undergoing a parabolic motion with a fair level of accuracy.

Their experimental results showed that the user caught the ball 132 out of 140 times.

Niemeyer believes that this integration of virtual and real is the moment where the whole VR experience comes to life and he thinks it’s pretty amazing.

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Pan further added, “The unreal feeling of catching something while you’re seeing that you’re catching something is quite an experience, in a freaky way.” he added.

They are still conducting user studies and processing different tools from environment and visual aids, but “catching a real ball in virtual reality” is first project of its own kind.

They are planning to make further break-throughs by allowing users to further engage in virtual sports world such as Wimbledon. “You can have tennis players wearing VR headsets with prediction algorithms following a ball in projectile motion. You can change the backgrounds such as a Wimbledon tennis court or a center of NBA All-star basketball game” said Niemeyer.

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Source: SportTechie