Augmented Sports with a Flying Ball
The ball has long been used the world over as an important component of sports. Competitive sports have developed thus far on the basis of the dynamic traits of the ball – whether it is thrown, hit or kicked.
And while these traits of the ball have indeed been the very foundation of ball sports, they might also be putting constraints on who gets to enjoy sports. The speed of a ball could, for example, be too fast for children, the elderly, and those with physical disabilities. So we believe that the availability of the HoverBall that flies on its own makes possible game design that compensates for the ability levels of the participants.
With a small quadcopter embedded in the ball-shaped square-block frame, the HoverBall is a sports ball for the future. The ball can be made to hover in the air and control its speed to fit the particular game situation. With this technology, hovering, anti-gravity, proximity, or remote manipulation, can be introduced to extend the way people interact with balls. This defies the physical laws on which ball sports have been predicated and introduces movement never seen in ball games so far, thus paving the way for the design of new ball games.
Click here for the University of Tokyo Rekimoto Lab project page. (URL:http://lab.rekimoto.org/projects/hoverball/)
text: Takashi Miyaki