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$1 million MBIE "Smart Idea" grant to advance augmented reality

Friday, 22 September 2017

S Zollmann main imageA $1 million MBIE Endeavour "Smart Ideas" grant has been awarded to Department of Computer Science’s Dr Stefanie Zollmann and her team from Computer Science, Information Science and Physical Education for their research titled “Situated visualisation to enrich sports experience for on-site spectators”.

“Over the last couple of years, we have seen many major advancements in sports broadcasting as well as in the interactivity in sports entertainment. 25 years ago, the first real-time graphics animation of a sporting event was broadcast on television for the Americas Cup, driven by NZ innovation,” she says.

We will significantly advance NZ’s position in the technological field of Augmented Reality, a field that has recently gained a lot of commercial and public interest and attention.

Nowadays spectators can remotely follow the same event live in real-time using their mobile devices. However, according to Dr Zollmann, spectators at live sporting events often miss out on this enriched content that is available to remote viewers through broadcast media or online.

“The main idea of this project is to extend NZ’s lead in this field, visualising game statistics in a novel way on the mobile devices of on-site spectators to give them access to information about the sporting event. We will provide spectators with an enriched experience like the one you see in a television broadcast,” she hopes.

The research team plans to use new technologies like Augmented Reality to place event statistics such as scoring, penalties, team statistics, additional player information into the field of view of the spectators based on their location within the venue.

“While currently we focus more on delivering data to the spectators, this approach could be easily extended for supporting coaches and team analysts,” she explains.

Stefanie predicts that their research will bring sports events closer to the audience, as well as bringing the spectators closer to the events and the teams.

“We will significantly advance NZ’s position in the technological field of Augmented Reality, a field that has recently gained a lot of commercial and public interest and attention.”

Before joining the Department of Computer Science in September 2016, Stefanie worked as a senior developer at Animation Research Limited (ARL) in Dunedin.

“At ARL I was doing industrial research and development in the field of sports visualisation, post-production, and geo-data visualisation in cooperation with several renowned companies and institutions.”

Before moving to New Zealand, Stefanie worked as a research assistant at Graz University of Technology in Austria, from where she also obtained her PhD researching visualisation techniques for GIS data and temporal data in outdoor augmented reality systems.