Heated badminton matches of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza will be transmitted to the Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation*, which serves as a remote viewing venue, using super immersive communication technology Kirari!, bringing together NTT's most advanced communication technologies.
Instantly capturing not just the dynamic movements of the athletes dashing across the court, but the movements of shuttlecocks that often exceed 400 kilometers per hour, the technology transmits the movements in real time in three-dimensional holographic images. It will allow viewers to have a live and immersive viewing experience at remote locations, as if the athletes are right there.
*To prevent the infection, the venue is available to media only now.
Watch players dashing across the court and thundering shuttlecocks. The super immersive communication technology Kirari! is a technology that synchronizes the relationships between their locations, the sound at the venue and everything else, to transmit the speed, three-dimensionality and immersiveness in real time, which had been difficult to achieve until now. It includes a number of cutting-edge communication technologies developed by NTT.
First of all, there is the technology that cuts out the shape of the players and the shuttlecock of the background. It is a technology that, without using chroma key shooting involving blue, green and other single-colored background screens, can cut out moving objects in real time as images. The cut out images of the persons and objects can then be transmitted and synthesized with other images in real time.
Second is the technology that displays the transmitted video and sound at the venue. The allocations of the court, two half-mirrors, LED displays and projectors are optimized, displaying two-layered spatial images at different depths, so that the player in the front court will be projected in the front court, and the other player in the opposite court, across the net. The technology also achieves the sequential and streamlined projection of the shuttlecock.
Kento Momota, is a Japanese representing badminton player, born in Mino-cho, Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture, left-handed,. Momota officially joined in NTT East the raised its name since 2013. His highest rank in BWF world was No. 1. He won all his matches during Japan's maiden Thomas Cup victory in 2014, and he was the first Japanese player to successfully capture a Super Series in Men's Singles in 2015.
Kento Momota is a member of the Japanese national badminton team. He professes that the fans' cheering energizes him more than anything else. We asked him to take a look at our super immersive communication technology Kirari!, asking him to share his take on the technology's potential from a player's perspective.
Until badminton stops being a minor sport
-Could you tell us about your daily training?
Momota Actually I am a craftsman type of a guy who keeps working religiously on routines, so I have not adopted scientific training much. If everything is presented to me in numbers, I would probably be obsessed about them. That said, I have a great interest in those advanced technologies. When I saw Kirari! being used in badminton matches, I was totally stunned (laughing.)
-Why were you stunned when you saw Kirari!?
Momota The immersiveness, the dynamism, and the fact that you can have such a real viewing experience remotely. I would rather go there as a spectator than the one being filmed (laughing.) The subtle movements of the athletes, the noise of the shuttlecock cutting through the air, and the sound of the shoes rubbing against the court. If you could feel these anywhere, it will significantly expand the horizon for badminton. Badminton is an indoor sport, but Kirari! can offer an outdoor viewing opportunity. I see badminton as still a minor sport. I hope that with this as a starting point, more people will take interest in badminton.
-Is there anything you would like to tell people through sports and badminton?
Momota Opponents are needed to play badminton. You cannot play it alone. I want to perform at my highest level especially now that many people are having to deal with many emotions. That's what I can do right now. I want many people to see me not giving in and the way I face up to challenging situations. I want to repay the fans with results. As a goal as a player? As a player I am far from my ideal image and not satisfied at all. At least when I think that way, it is proof that I am still growing. I want to continue to play badminton sincerely, forever exploring and remaining curious toward the sport.
Something that can be done especially now as we are unable to meet face to face
-First of all, could you tell us if your views and thinking have changed at all over the past year?
Momota It has actually felt hollow not to hear the audience cheering at the matches. I could not practice with my fellow players either, something we had taken for granted. But there was nothing we could do, so I think that I switched my mind and have done the best I could over the past year.
-You started posting news on social media.
Momota Because we lost the chance to interact with the fans, I looked around for what I could do and gave it a try. I felt pressure about posting but communicating with people through social media was refreshing and enjoyable, and, more than anything else, I was happy to see support from so many people.
-Is the power of support significant for athletes?
When you are struggling in a match, when you are about to snap, and when you are turning a little pessimistic, cheering gives you incredible power. Even if you are not at your best, when you walk onto the court and hear people cheering, you feel a jolt of energy more than words can describe. Of course, that comes with a lot of pressure as well, but cheering works positively for me.
The live viewing venue will have spectator seats and the life-size court just like in real matches, allowing fans to have an unprecedented experience as if they are at the match. Kirari! overturns the common sense that you need to be physically at a venue to watch sports. Apply for the live viewing event and share the dramatic experience!