Immersion, whether it’s in music, video games, shopping, exercise, food the list goes on, all of these activities are a device to get away from the day to day workplace and into a world of joy, satisfaction and an element of fantasy.
As I come out of the world that is Dead Space 2 with the horrors and a scare or two, to have an imaginary world have a lasting effect on myself is strange when you think about it because It’s can’t actually hurt me, the action of running away from monsters in the dark still has an impact of my emotions. Or a song on the radio or a film, all of it has the same affect so what could it do if I could be further immersed into my favourite sport.
With Google glass becoming a reality, and other devices such as the augmented reality headsets are becoming the next piece of tech that everyone “should” want in the living rooms, companies everywhere are finding ways to have a foot in the door. An example is the Oculus Rift, a Kickstarter that has now become a billion pound business after Facebooks $2 billion buyout.
It shows a clear intent from Facebook that this isn’t going to just be a device for gaming or just deepening a film experience, they clearly believe in augmented reality devices to being the next lifestyle essential we all need in our lives.
The reason I’m writing this article is after watching a TED talk by Chris Kluwe, former NFL player with Oakland Raiders and Pundit describes how he believes Google glass and Augmented Reality technology in general can become a great tool for sport, such as American football players could have a screen on their helmets to be able to see space and have tactics shown to them right on the field which would leave them to have to do less thinking on the field and to be more reactive to create a faster game and to help win games.
He also goes into the entertainment aspect for the viewer that it can have, as you’d be able to see the perspective of players such as Messi or Ronaldo dribbling past three or four players and scoring the winner, or an Olympic medallist. Another for me could be in Hockey or Snowboarding to be able to have a point of view aspect of the event, for me would be fantastic to see.
Sadly for me there is a hitch, for American footballers or hockey, helmets are used but as part of the general wear for some sports it could be problematic. Footballers or snowboarders might not want to have to wear headgear or something on their faces, either in training or in competition. It could look and feel ridiculous for viewers and athletes to have on.
Another positive is it could help them get into a better psychologically state, to give them a feel for a full stadium in a cup final or an attempt of the one race that could win gold at the Olympics. Thinking about it, it could help the England football team to perfect their penalties, now that is a reality I’d like to see however stupid the tech might look! Coincidentally as I write this feature, Roma have been trying out Google glass: What do you think? does it look comfortable or practical? Sadly I’m not bilingual so I’m not sure how he feels about wearing them.
We also have to think, will Governing bodies allow these tools to be used, yes in many sports we are able to collect data and stats from all sorts of different technologies in boots etc but the trouble we’ve seen with getting some technology in some sports there can be huge hurdles. Such as Goal-line technology in football as FIFA want to try to keep the game as natural as possible and not make it a restrictive sport, were expensive equipment is needed and expected, which could drive people away from the sport.
Augmented reality is a great concept and the potential is there in our daily lives with social media having such a big impact on our lives in every sense, being given directions when driving because Google glass uses maps to help you on your way or to improve the experience of our hobbies such as being able to put you in clothes without trying anything on. It could allow us to do many things but it could also drive sport forward so much more. I am slightly on the fence too though, in the fact that I believe too much of anything is bad and I wouldn’t want it to become a problem in sport. But to have the thought that it could be a brilliant tool for broadcasters, coaches, officials and athletes to use. Plus to immerse an audience further into a sport by experiencing potentially the most important moment for an athlete’s career through their eyes is very exciting. I just hope it’s applied where it can have more of a positive effect, and not to be used for the sake of it.