This week, the Australian Tennis Open begins in Melbourne. If you’re having trouble securing travel arrangements to the popular tournament, you can also catch all the action in the virtual world of Second Life.
IBM, which provides the IT services and technology backbone for Tennis Australia’s Grand Slam tournament, has built a three dimensional facsimile of the Melbourne Tennis Centre complex inside a virtual world called Second Life.
Over the duration of the two week tournament, data will be fed from games in the real Rod Laver Arena into the unreal one, nano seconds after happens.
The feed will come from game-tracking technologies such as the line-calling system HawkEye, PointTracker which plots shots and ball trajectories and Speed Serve which clocks the players’ serves.
Computers then crunch the numbers to recreate the positioning of the ball inside the virtual stadium. And avatars, 3-D characters representing the players, can simulate strokes made by Roger Federer or Alicia Molik – or whoever is playing at the time.
And spectators inside this computerised world will have not only the pick of the seats (including the match umpire’s), but they can choose to watch the action from a player’s perspective.
Related Links: Second Life
, Linden Lab