BEIJING, July 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The use of digital technology in competitive sports is nothing new. The combination of technology and sports is not only changing the way audiences watch sports events, but also enabling athletes to enjoy different kinds of training and maintenance. Scoring and refereeing can also be enhanced by technology.
Emanuel Leite Junior, an associate researcher from Tongji University in Shanghai, notes that with the developments in the past few years, digital technology is now used to monitor players’ runs, including when a soccer player kicks the ball. Relevant technologies also provide sleep monitoring, which can improve the quality of training and the recovery process of an athlete’s health.
Jiao Yang, an assistant researcher at the Future Laboratory, Tsinghua University, says VR cameras are playing a much larger role as a supplement to traditional lenses. Conducting 360-degree video shoots inside sports arenas, these VR cameras can be placed on the baseline, sidelines, or even on drones to achieve panoramic shots.
“VR and augmented reality (AR) device industries are developing very rapidly,” he points out. “We have already seen many excellent products, like the Pico and Quest (VR headsets) and VR and AR devices from Apple.” As these devices become more comfortable and portable, more and more content creators are entering the VR industry.
However, the use of digital technology in sports is not without controversies. Sun Xiao, lead artificial intelligence (AI) scientist for research on AI for sports at the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, says the current AI systems rely heavily on the collection of sports data and human-designed algorithms. People may collect data with bias, while the algorithm rules are inconsistent. This may result in inconsistency in the interpretation of the data.
According to Sun, some people think applying AI technology to games may impact the audience’s passion and could be criticized by some fans. However, he concedes that such controversies are insignificant compared to the way new technologies have helped to improve the standard of sport in several ways.
Chris Yap, Vice President of sales and business development for software development company Pixellot in Asia, echoes Sun, saying there will always be some controversy whether people use technology or not. And that’s what makes sports events interesting – it triggers an emotional resonance. The introduction of AI technology, introducing better or future technology, adds a really interesting element to the whole event itself.
Yap also mentions the advantages that technology can bring to sports. For example, if you integrate multiple types of cameras on a single platform and have them run autonomously, you have wider coverage, using more exciting ways to produce and participate in events.