Adam Silver Visits Stanford For a Virtual Reality Lesson
NBA commissioner Adam Silver visits Stanford for a lecture in virtual reality was confident that VR could improve the game for both fans and players. VR could offer technology-based upgrades to the NBA's fan experience. For example, courtside tickets at an NBA game are the toughest tickets to buy. By integrating VR technology, NBA might create similar experiences for fans.
Silver’s visit to the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) was led by communication Associate Professor Jeremy Bailenson. The VHIL is one of the most sophisticated VR laboratories in the world. It consists of a full range of VR gears that create immersive virtual experiences.
Speakers in the wall and floor are made of airplane-grade aluminum, imitating sensation of swishing wind, or the rumbling sound from an earthquake. Cameras and motion sensors track the subject's every move, and generate view at 75 frames per second onto VR goggle such as the Oculus Rift HMD.
This is not the first time NBA set foot inside the VHIL lab. Golden State Warriors and their marketing team reportedly have visited the lab several times. The NBA visitors ubiquitously agreed that VR experiences similar to the ones created by Professor Bailenson could provide a unique fan experience.
In addition to helping the millions of fans in the United States who never get to experience sitting courtside, VR experience could also provide gateway for fans in China that never gets to attend a game in their entire lifetime.
“This could let fans experience what it's like to stand on the free throw line with two seconds left in a tie game and 19,000 people screaming at you,” Silver said.
Furthermore, VR could also improve athlete performance. VR programs could be created to train players and referees to decrease anxiety and perspiration, making better decisions in the actual game.
In the past, Bailenson has worked with Stanford's football team to create 360-degree virtual representations of what a quarterback sees after the snap. By giving quarterbacks an opportunity to repeatedly read defenses inside the simulator, Bailenson found that players improved decision-making by 30 percent, and need less time for them to make the decision.
Silver could see a similar VR sports training system being beneficial for turning point guards into better passers, or for training referees on the best places to stand to get the clearest view of play.
“From a training standpoint, you look around the play and it's so clear what the best [passing] option is. Players always tell us how they get better by repeating certain situations. This could be ideal training.” Silver Said.