The Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset is usually considered a gaming device, but now the technology is also being used to train US football players.
Let’s not debate the merits of American football over soccer, but nevertheless quarterbacks and coaches have been spending hours every week watching and scrutinising football games (shows?) to find ways to improve their game, highlighting just how VR can be used as a serious training device in many sports.
Oculus’ virtual reality headset used to train US football players
Virtual reality is helping the players train using Oculus Rift VR goggles and additional software created by a company called STRIVR Labs, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Football players are usually just observers when they watch footage on a computer screen, after which they go out and practice what they’ve learned on film.
But the new STRIVR software helps the players to re-live playing from their own viewpoint and allows them to more effectively use their time by watching the film and practicing what they’ve learned in a virtual world.
The players wear the Oculus headset and can move their head to see any other player, just like they would do in the real world. Once the ball is ‘snapped’ (i.e. kick-off, for us Brits), they can see all the offensive and defensive movements and then make a decision what to do.
It all sounds pretty hi-tech…
The players don’t just see a random team and play-moves, they see their own team’s players in their proper colours, re-living what they saw before, pretty much like a film of a game that the players watch after a game, but they’re actually there in the action.
The technology was created with the assistance of a certain Derek Belch, who was formerly a Stanford player.
Not that anyone outside the US cares about American football and all its razzamatazz, but many college programs are using the VR software during the spring training, and even NFL teams may be using it by the summer.
What’s next? Training via a smartwatch?
SOURCE: San Diego Union Tribune.