Intel’s New ‘Voxel’ Technology Will Fundamentally Change Live Sports

Ready to watch a football game from the QB’s POV?

January 12, 2018 9:00 am

Ever lose a game of Madden in ridiculous fashion?

You know the drill: a hook-and-ladder followed by six or seven broken tackles en route to the pylons. And then your buddy watches the instant replay from every conceivable angle, whooping and hooting as the image is seared indelibly into your memory?

Well, CES 2018 is going down in Vegas this week, and the folks at Intel just dropped a sneak peak of a True VR technology that will bring that video-game-like technology — to live sports broadcasts.

That’s right: Intel is planning to introduce in-game immersion to live broadcasts across every major sport. Wonder what it was like to be Tua on that championship-winning throw for ‘Bama the other night? With Intel’s new technology, you will literally experience the play from his point of view.

Now, you probably have questions. And thanks to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, we’ve got answers (skip ahead to the 4:25 mark for the good stuff).

How will this thing work? The players won’t need to wear drones on the top of their hats or helmets, for starters. In fact, the in-game technology won’t affect them at all.

Essentially, Intel will install dozens of HD 5K resolution cameras around the perimeter of an arena of play, thereby dividing the exact charted space into billions of discrete units they call “voxels.” Think of the voxel as a pixel gone three-dimensional. Voxels go further than pixels, providing depth to the content captured by the HD 5K cameras. When transferred to a headset (which you, the viewer, will be wearing at home), Voxels are able to offer every single conceivable angle of a live game.

In even simpler terms: you’re gonna be able to throw on a headset and feel like you’re on the field. On the court. In the ring. You’ll piggyback onto your favorite athlete and understand (perhaps for the first time) truly how fast things are developing in front of them. It’s a stunning, almost unimaginable idea. But it’s here nonetheless. And consuming live sports figures to never be the same.

Imagine the possibilities. Beyond consumer entertainment, the technology can help trainers and doctors assess point-of-impact on injuries, or athletes themselves analyze their performances.

As you can probably tell, we’re pretty jazzed about this development. Below, we’ve ranked eight sports from worst to best based on their predicted “vibe-ability” with Intel’s exciting new tech.

8. Baseball
You probably won’t want a headset on while nursing a beer, but boy will those moonshot dingers look good when you’re watching from the batter’s box. Comebackers should be fun as well.

7. Tennis
Yup, couldn’t return that serve. Confirmed.

6. MMA
Get ready to learn how to take (and dodge) a punch.

5. Basketball
You’ll realize just how quickly NBA players move with and without the ball. Not ideal for crunchtime while watching your favorite squad, but the on-court highlights are never going to get old.

4. Soccer
In a sport that hinges so much on vision and space, what a way to learn exactly how the world’s best watch things unfold. Could help the game continue to grow Stateside, too.

3. Hockey
It’s VR … on ice! Navigating the chaos of a power play from the point will be something special.

2. Golf
Sleeper pick: links nuts will have a time zooming around the fairways, bunkers and greens of the world’s most iconic courses.

1. Football
Easily the most intriguing pairing. Our country’s most violent (and addicting) game laid bare. How will this technology augment, or further expose the nature of the game? Every throw, run, pick six and OT-winning field goal are yours to enjoy. If only the sound were on so we could hear what really goes on at the line of scrimmage (odds are good it was something about your mother).

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