Wearable camera streams athlete’s point of view (Wired UK)


Katie Collins


Wearable
technology
could soon change the way we watch professional
sports live on television by immersing viewers in an athlete’s
field of vision. Spanish company First V1sion has created a camera
that sits on players’ chests and beams footage from the pitch or
court to our TV sets.

First V1sion has enjoyed a speedy journey to success. Formed in
April 2014, the startup achieved its two-year business plan in nine
months. It was fast-tracked through the Wayra accelerator scheme
and in November last year was a finalist in Intel’s Make It Wearable
competition
.

It was in October that the team started its first pilot with
professional football players from Cordoba football club. Feedback
showed that once the players had strapped the cameras on underneath
their shirts they tended to forget they were there. In fact, many
enjoyed the way the modules gave them slightly more heft and toning
across the tops of their torsos.

The only way it really changed player behaviour was when they
were joking around with one another or celebrating goals. They
players were not bothered particular about being filmed, but did
not like the microphones built into the modules at that time. As
such, microphones have been left out of the main version of the
product, but can be reinstated if they are requested.

Footage from the cameras was seen by 25 million people in Spain
and it resulted in First V1sion’s first big client. The Turkish
Airlines Euroleague is the second biggest basketball league in the
world after the NBA, and its matches are shown on 150 TV channels.
Basketball is one of several sports that is interested in First
V1sion as part of a bid to increase its visibility and attract new
fans and viewers.

While First V1sion hopes to be in football leagues too,
basketball is the easier place to start out. Not only is the
tactility of the sport different, but basketball players don’t tend
to be under the same types of media pressure and scrutiny as
football players. Similarly, First V1sion believes the place it is
likely to have the most success is the US, not only because that is
where a lot of the money is, the company’s cofounder and CTO Roger
Antunez tells WIRED.co.uk, but “they understand that sport is a
show”.

“The Premier League is a main market for us,” he adds. The
company is currently in talks with Manchester City. There are
challenges that need to be overcome, however, before First V1sion
can be deployed in highly regulated competitions such as the
Premier and Champions Leagues. Regulators tend not to be worried
about comfort of the players, but rather their concerns tend to be
to do with the logistics of the setup, says Antunez. One of the
early issues that First V1sion has now resolved was that the
batteries in the modules would always need to be replaced at half
time — this is no longer the case.

Currently, First V1sion is focussed on the funding round it will
open next week (11 March) on an equity crowdfunding platform. It
will help the team make the jump from being a startup to being a
fully-fledged company. Considering the startup is already backed by
Telefonica, owner of TV network Canal+ and the television rights
for Barcelona FC next season, the future looks bright for First
V1sion. More immersive sports experiences could be coming to a
screen near you soon.

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6 March 2015 | 10:39 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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