Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Virtual reality is giving athletes an edge on the field

In the article I recently read, there was discussion about the use of virtual reality (VR) to help athletes prepare for a game. It says that both collegiate and professional athletes are using VR to understand games in a new and unique way. The article specifically mentions the use of Stanford’s StriVR systems for Stanford teams as well as Clemson University and many NFL teams.  The StriVR system is just one of the virtual reality technology labs, but they use technology to create training videos shot from the player’s eye view. The article I read, talks about the uses and benefits of using technology such as this.
An important point in this article is making sure the reader knows how this technology works, in a basic sense. They say that it is a combination of multiple lenses from different angles, as well as aid from computers in production. Impressively, for each play the VR producer must assemble the footage from all cameras used into a single shot, into a single visual field. After it is properly put together, players can watch through a VR headset and even turn their heads to look around the virtual field. I think knowing how the technology works is important because it gives readers more understanding of how the product is successful and in turn they learn about the use of the product. The next important part of the article is the benefits they tell readers about. The article says that the players feel distant from regular 2-dimension video, and that VR can help them learn. With virtual reality, it is more of an experience. Players use VR to help memorize plays and formations without actually having to play them, with less of a threat of injury from repeating plays physically over and over again. This is important information to know, because readers wonder why this is necessary instead of regular video or simply running the plays. The third important part of the article is where they ask the question everyone would want to know: does it work? The article says that research of the successes of VR sports training is till in the preliminary stages, but comments from college and professional athletes have been almost strictly positive. There are limitations to VR and it is difficult to learn how to use, but this article seems to say that the positives outweigh the negatives. This is important to emphasize because some may think that it is not worth the effort.
One aspect that the article left out is how long the process to make a single VR tape takes. This is important to have in there because if it takes days to put together one VR recording of a single play, is it worth it? Another aspect that should have been in the article is price. How much is it to have these headsets and the equipment to make the videos, and how much is a team spending on this? One more aspect the article should have included is specific athletes that are well know who use the VR headsets. Readers would like to know that teams and players they know are using these and seeing results. Overall, I think the concept of VR training is going to be very successful.

1 comment:

  1. I think that virtual reality could potentially be a great new way for athletes to be able to both practice and train for upcoming games. I agree with your point about how with VR athletes wouldn't have to worry about hurting themselves in practice since they would be getting their practice in through VR. With VR athletes would then be healthy and well rested for important games. Although I like the concept of VR for athletes, I did find a few issues with it. My first concern with VR was that online training may simulate practice, but i don’t think it can every really replace physical practice where athletes are able to break a sweat and use muscle memory to memorize plays. Other issues I had with VR was the cost and also how long it takes to make a tape as you said above in your blog. A question this leads to, if they are able to work out these issues, is who would use this? Professionals? High school teams? College athletes? Another concern I had with VR was if only individuals could practice using VR or if teams could. This was an issue I had since teams are able to use practice to become closer and gain more trust in one another. With the VR technology, players may be able to learn the plays, but they’ll never be able to really trust in one another.


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