Beyond Sports Uses AI To Turn NHL Players Into Blocky Avatars

The company’s visualization engine delivers digital content across professional athletes in real time.

The NHL thought it would be a good idea to broadcast the Stanley Cup Championship games using Beyond Sports’ unique visualization engine that turns players into block-like avatars, and I honestly do not think I can watch a live sports match on anyone Another way. .

In addition to sports is an AI-based visualization company that uses cool tracking technology along with player positional data to transform them into what they call “Blockies.” It’s similar to a video game, but it’s actually digital content that matches the players in real time.

Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Colorado Avalanche and even the Zamboni rider were all transformed into adorable block-like avatars through Beyond Sports’ approach that shows us what the future of sports in the meta-verse could potentially look like in the future.

Even the fans were transformed into block avatars, but it looked more like pre-recorded digital content used to create the illusion of a tightly packed virtual stadium. Unfortunately, the referees received no virtual love and were not even represented in the game.

It was a little weird watching the match, but I thought it was a lot easier to follow the action on the ice, and it sounds like hockey fans were digging for it! In the NHL Youtube page where they streamed the data-infused Stanley Cup games, fans commented on how much they loved this approach.

Credit: Beyond Sports
  • “Why is it so incredibly adorable to see small blocked versions of the players?” – ShinyMew76
  • “Other big sports leagues have to do this! This is good!” – Unsalted nuts
  • “Love it or hate it, props to the NHL to try something new and unique for once,” and the Hockeyman commented, “So much help in visualizing and understanding the overall flow of the game in a simplified way!” – Frunkiss

Of course, not all the comments were positive, and some viewers expressed their contempt for the simplified graphics and compared it to the video game Minecraft. But overall, fans seemed to enjoy the experience.

In terms of how the system works, it looks like the company uses sensors embedded in players’ jerseys to track their positions on the ice and overlay digital content in real time.

While this virtual approach is really not AR or VR, it raises a lot of interesting questions regarding the use of AR and VR in sports. For example, you can use a VR headset to put yourself on the field or use a mobile device or AR glasses to watch the game with Blockie avatars.

See what they did with this Nickelodeon NFL Wildcard game. Not only did the experience put you directly on the pitch, but it also added some fun effects like lighting and flames.

Beyond Sports also has a Gameface app available on iOS and Android store that you can use to record and then share your favorite clips of Eredivisie games.

In addition to the NHL, the company has also started working with the NBA, NFL, KNVB, MLS, Bein Sports, the German Football Association, ESPN and Sky Sports.

To learn more about Beyond Sports and upcoming games using their Blockie avatars, check out their website by clicking here.

Image Credit: Beyond Sports

William

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