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VIRTUAL REALITY HORSE RACING

Horse racing fans understand the excitement and the adrenaline rush when the horses pound towards the finish line. This thrill is however limited to the jockey and audience. Customers who bet online do not get the chance to experience this. This is however about to come to an end. William Hill is in the process of enlisting virtual reality technology to bridge this gap. When virtual reality headsets are combined with GPS data of the racetrack, the customers get the chance to view the race from the perspective of the jockey.

Horse racing betting has in the recent past been losing grasp to football and tennis. This has been blamed on a view that the sport does not appeal to young people. The move to introduce VR into the sport has therefore been lauded by many as a move expected to change the fortunes of horse racing. Marketingmagazine terms the move as an act to rescue horse racing from millennial obscurity. This move is anticipated to draw more youths to the sport and revive the waning bets.

Bookmaker has teamed up with Unit9, a production company, in a bid to recreate a horse race in VR. This way, a customer will be able to experience horse races from the jockey’s perspective with the help of Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear or Oculus Rift. When the customer wears the virtual reality HMD, they will get a glimpse of the race track that has been recreated to scale. They are also able to place their bets just by looking at billboards featuring the names of the horses.

The experience is way better than sitting in the viewing stands. From the virtual reality HMD, the customer is able to see information such as heart rate, race position, stride length and the distance remaining. You can also look around and look at other racers.When you glance at a horse, the name of the racer appears above. This experience is expected to bring the client closer to the sporting action so that they experience the thrill and the excitement as much as the jockey. In a bid to give customers and enthusiasts a peek into the anticipated experience, Bookmaker built a mock of Kempton Park racecourse in 3D. They then fitted GPS trackers on the horses via which they collected live data during a race training race at the race course.

At the moment, after the customer places a bet, nothing much happens in between that and the outcome. This is expected to change soon. In a bid to make it widely accessible, they are building it for Google Cardboard besides the pricier Oculus Rift. The are many challenges yet to be overcome to make this a reality, though. One of these challenges includes the processing power of mobile phones which is lower than that of computers. This could force the user to settle for highly stylized, vector-styled low polygon look and feel. However, this does not stop the experience from being thrilling, though.

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