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NTT DATA to Launch Virtual Reality Baseball Coaching System Developed in Collaboration with Rakuten Baseball, Inc.
Friday, 25 October, 2013

Sep. 14, 2016

NTT DATA Corporation

 

Tokyo, September 14, 2016 - NTT DATA Corporation, a global IT service provider, and Rakuten Baseball, Inc. announced today they will launch a new virtual reality (VR) baseball coaching system in Japan in 2017, and that they subsequently plan to offer the service globally. Developed using NTT DATA’s VR technology, the system uses a database of professional players’ videos and performance statistics to generate high quality simulated video images. Rakuten Baseball, Inc., which manages the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, will be the first customer, using the system from the commencement of the 2017 baseball season. This will be the first time a VR baseball coaching system has been developed in collaboration with a professional baseball team.

 

The new system is targeted at raising the performance levels of professional baseball players, simulating for batters the sensation of standing in a real batter’s box and allowing them to experience virtual pitching scenarios through a head-mounted display.

 

NTT DATA developed the new service in collaboration with Rakuten Baseball, Inc. based on a solution called “Athlete First-Person Vision Synthesis” which was developed by NTT Media Intelligence Laboratories. It allows players to experience a sense of full realism thanks to the processing and presentation of massive amounts of data sourced from numerous sensors. During the development phase, Rakuten Eagles players participated in trials and verified the practicability and usability of the system, testing pitchers’ characteristics and pitches and the timing of batting responses.

 

“The Rakuten Eagles are keen to deploy the latest technology in the field of sport, and were happy to participate in these trials. Following their conclusion, we have decided to start using the system next season,” said Akira Ueda, Director of the Baseball Team Strategy Office, Rakuten Baseball, Inc. “We can expect the team to improve on a continuous basis, as the system allows the VR content to be updated as the baseball season progresses.”

 

Rakuten Eagles player Toshiaki Imae, who participated in the trials, said “The head-mounted display gives players the advantage of being able to practice receiving a variety of pitches. This gives them more confidence, and the readiness to face any game.”