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How Haptic Technology Can Make Sporting Events Immersive

April 6, 2023

(Based on the Article: Haptic Presentation System Synchronized with Live Sports Broadcasts at Public Viewing Events)

Immersive experiences are all the rage these days. From VR to theater, people are seeking to be part of their entertainment rather than just watching it. This is easier to do with some mediums than it is with others. For example, an immersive experience with live sports has been rather difficult to achieve. Video games come close, but it’s still not the same as experiencing your favorite team in a new exciting way. Luckily, emerging technologies are making it possible to bring new, dynamic experiences to fans.

Haptic technology is any piece of tech that simulates or creates an experience of touch. Rumble controllers for video game controllers are the most well-known examples of haptic technology, but there are many more applications than just gaming. 4D movie experiences, for example, use haptic technology to create a more stimulating storytelling experience.

This technology is now being applied to sports. Though we’re a long way away from having immersive live sports tech in every home, some major breakthroughs are already happening. Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) in Tokyo, Japan used their Science and Technology Research Laboratories to create special equipment to enhance the viewing of live sports.

The first piece of equipment developed was a handheld device that conveyed the intensity of an athlete’s motions as well as the speed of their movements. The second piece of equipment is a chair that conveys the experience of major actions like throwing, grappling, and physical contact. Both devices vibrate at different intensities based on the athlete’s actions and are synced with the audio-visual tech already in use at the sporting event.

The haptic devices mentioned in the experiment were used to make judo matches more immersive, but they can be applied to any sport. Imagine feeling a great tackle in an American Football game without getting injured, or the roar of a stadium when someone makes the winning goal at the world cup. This wouldn’t replace seeing these events live, but they would make watching sports at home a much more dynamic experience.

This tech is still rather new, at least in the world of live sports. The haptic devices mentioned here won’t be ready for mass consumption for a while. However, they are certainly on their way. Those who can’t get these devices for their homes will likely be able to experience them in a special venue, like an arcade. No matter how you get to experience it, these devices will change how people enjoy sports forever.

Tag(s): AI , News

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