People have vastly different opinions when it comes to the usefulness of virtual reality. To most consumers, it is nothing but an expensive gimmick no one asked for. To the US Olympic ski team, it is an invaluable asset which helps them with training. Preparing for an unfamiliar course in virtual reality can be a difference maker between failure and taking home a medal. It goes to show there is a lot more to VR than most people realize at this point.
Preparing for the Winter Olympics with VR
It is evident the 2018 Winter Olympics and virtual reality will come together in many different ways. Not only will a lot of events be broadcast live in VR, but the technology also helps athletes prepare for the unknown. In the case of the US Olympic ski team, they use a VR headset to explore the course in South Korea. Since no one has even explored this course before, any extra information can make a big difference.
Everyone who will partake in the skiing event wants to gain an edge over the competition. That is much easier said than done until you can effectively get boots on the ground. For now, the US alpine team is using VR technology to memorize the hill and take virtual runs down this fast and tricky course. It is not the exact same as effectively skiing down the hill, but it’s still better than having no prior information or experience at all.
To put this into perspective, most World Cup skiers may have raced down this course a half dozen times. The US Olympic team, on the other hand, will have completed dozens of virtual runs on the same course without too many issues. It can effectively make a big difference when it comes to taking home one or more medals. The US team is also the first Olympic team in the world to integrate VR into their training regimen. Rest assured they will not be the last ones to do so either.
Unlike other VR training exercises, this virtual run has no stationary point of view. Instead, STRIVR Labs have created a proper replica of the course and brought it to life in virtual reality. This company is also active in other sports, and they have made quite the name for themselves in the past few years. As a result, the current VR course offers footage which matches the speed of the fastest racers on the team. It was a big challenge, especially given the chance of inducing nausea. So far, no problems have been reported on this front.
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