We speak to Trinity VR about their Vive Tracker powered Diamond FX project which aims to provide realistic virtual reality simulations for major league baseball teams, all powered by years of real pitching statistics.
One of the more off-beat uses of HTC’s newly announced Vive Tracker came from Trinity VR who have taken the Vive Tracker, as announced by HTC at CES this week, slapped it onto a real baseball bat and were using it to demonstrate their baseball simulator.
Ben Lang spoke to Trinity VR‘s Chief of Product Julian Volyn (see full video interview at the top of this page) to find out a little more about the project and it transpires that the developers only had around 3 weeks to integrate Diamond FX with HTC’s new Vive Tracker. Tellingly, and positively for HTC, Volyn states that in comparison to their previous solution – essentially strapping a SteamVR controller to the bat – the new tracker really allowed the company to increase tracking fidelity and weight distribution for added realism.
As for Diamond FX itself, Volyn says it’s a serious simulation designed very much for professional use, a statement that seems to be backed up by the impressive statistics the application is built on. “It’s a simulation and training platform looking at professional teams and minor league teams,” says Volyn, “What we’re able to do is create scenarios with real world pitchers and simulate their real world play styles..” How is this done? Years of statistics it turns out. “We’re able to do this through a system called Pitch FX. Pitch FX was installed in major league stadiums in about 2007, it’s collected 100s of 1000s of data points for every pitch thrown for the past 7 years and we’re able to take those data points and reverse engineer those pitches.” What this means of course is that teams who use the system will be able instantly recall and replay over and over again individual pitches taken from real matches.
Of course, all that data isn’t much use if it can’t be presented to the player in a useful way. Diamond FX was therefore built for virtual reality and, using a motion tracked bat (see the aforementioned Vive Tracker) bring the real player’s motions into the simulation, playing performance out against the virtual pitches. “In a player development of training sense, there’s not a ton of opportunities for a player to go up against any given pitcher in a season. What we’re able to do is create large sample sizes through .. nobody gets tired, in our simulation ”
We’re almost constantly surprised by new and interesting uses we’d never considered for virtual reality here on Road to VR, even after reporting on the technology for over 5 years. Trinity VR have managed to do it again with Diamond FX and with that excellent statistical grounding fused with this new generation of tracked motion controllers and VR, they seem to have a really compelling product which it would be hard to imagine wasn’t attractive to both minor and major league players alike.