Portugal was behind 3-2 even against Spain after taking the lead twice. The stadium was jampacked. The occasion was FIFA World Cup 2018. The referee gave away the freekick outside the box for Pique’s foul on Ronaldo. The Portuguese no. 7 kept the ball on the freekick spot, took four steps back, and stood up in his landmark stance. Meanwhile, Spanish goalkeeper De Gea set the wall and positioned himself on a far poll. The referee blew the whistle, Ronaldo exhaled, and took strides towards the ball. De Gea’s eyes fixed on the ball. And Ronaldo kicked the ball with the toe of his swift right foot. The wall jumps. But the ball passed over the wall, and the next thing we saw was the ball dipping into the back of the net with no chance to the Spanish goalkeeper. Ronaldo rushed to the right corner to celebrate and the game was level. This was what we saw on TV. More Precisely, in two dimensions. Now, the new technology would make us watch the match on the tabletop. More Precisely, in three dimensions.
Yes, we can watch the beautiful game in three dimensions on our table with the help of augmented reality technology which recreates 2D matches in 3D. The “Soccer On Your Tabletop” system would help us enjoy the thrill of football matches in 3D. The system takes the input from video of the match, tracks movements of each player individually, and maps players into 3D models. These 3D models have been extracted from the video games and located on a 3D representation of the small football pitch drawn on the table.
The research paper named “Soccer On Your Tabletop” was published in IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2018. The research is a collaboration between Google, Facebook, and the University of Washington. Based on the source data, it seemed the researchers reached a significant milestone for successfully creating accurate and realistic 3D pose of each player. But that is not what it appeared to be. The positions of characters are projected, and they appear to be jumping around as the ball appears very less. There is a vast scope for improvement, but the idea is spectacular. The game can be presented from multiple angles and the 3D replay will also be available few minutes after the match ends.
Moreover, we can watch it from multiple angles as well. On TV, everyone watches from the same angle. Letting people choose the spot to watch and enjoy the thrilling finale of the world’s most popular game will nothing short of a spectacular experience. Let us see how this development will take shape in the future and what changes the technology will make in lives of football fans.
A demo to the research can be watched below: