A professional skier battled against two online gamers in the world's first interactive 'mixed reality' downhill ski race using technology pioneered by European researchers.
Hitting speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour, the top-class skier hurtled down the world cup ski course in Schladming, Austria, in a bid to reach the finish line before his two competitors - virtual reality gamers based in Thessaloniki, in Greece, and Munich, in Germany.
The racers used a 3D tele-immersion platform and wore new virtual reality technology - Oculus Rift - that allows them to compete against each other by racing down the same ski slope at the same time. The competition is the culmination of research by the European Commission funded 3D LIVE project.
The project's technical lead, Michael Boniface, Technical Director at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre - an applied research group with Electronics and Computer Science, said: "The competitors interact in real-time sharing their experience in a 3D virtual environment delivered over the Internet to wearable immersive devices. The professional skier will wear Smart Ski Goggles with a heads up display that allows them to see the virtual world alongside the real slope. The indoor competitors will play fully immersed in a virtual world using Oculus Rift. 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."
Project coordinator Marco Conte, at Collaborative Engineering in Italy, said:// "This innovative technology will open up the opportunity for new types of live games that combine digital and real interaction in many different competitive sports. 3D LIVE experiences have been developed for Golf, Jogging and now skiing, transforming the way people play, compete and socialise."
The consortium, which is made up of Collaborative Engineering, in Italy; University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre, in UK; the CERTH Information Technologies Institute, in Greece; Arts et Metiers ParisTech Laval, in France; Sportscurve, in Germany; and Cyberlighting, in Finland, has worked on the 3D LIVE project to deliver a mixed reality, immersive 3D platform where users can experience, feel and interact with real environments and distant users in real-time.
Source and top image: University of Southampton~