A world first on virtual skis

Ski Race

The University’s IT Innovation Centre was part of a consortium that delivered the world’s first interactive “mixed reality” downhill ski race. A professional skier hurtled down a world cup ski course in Austria, competing against two virtual gamers based in Germany and Greece. Michael Boniface, technical director at the IT Innovation Centre, said: “The competitors were able to interact in real-time sharing their experience in a 3D virtual environment delivered over the Internet to wearable immersive devices” Wearing Smart Ski Goggles with a tiny display inside, the actual skier could see the virtual world alongside the real slope, and keep track of his competitors. The indoor competitors were able to race down the same ski slope at the same time, using a 3D tele-immersion platform and wearing new virtual reality technology. Despite the skier on the real slope picking up an early win in the first race, the two online gamers went on to battle back and win the successive races.

The competition was the culmination of research by the European Commission funded 3D LIVE project.

“By using advanced sensor and gaming technologies to create and manipulate 3D information in real-time, the platform can deliver truly interactive experiences closely linked to real world activities,” said Michael. Future opportunities could include watching a live sports event at home, and competing against the real pros.

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