eStadium: Using Smartphones for the first Augmented Stadiums
Earlier today, the eStadium application for iphones went live for the first time. It is a novel concept, designed to turn sporting events into augmented reality centres with a minimum of infrastructure in place. The debut was at the Wake Forest University-Tech football game.
Professor Ed Coyle, director of the Arbutus Center for the Integration of Research and Education, is behind the idea. It allows fans sitting in the stands of an athletic event to access video replays, up-to-the-second statistics, player bios, play-by-play analysis and a wealth of other information designed to enhance the thrill of the game. "Even if you're in the stands, sometimes you can't figure out what just happened," Coyle said. "This allows you to look at a play as many times as you want."
He hopes to create a situation where commentary and instant-replays can be relayed from any participating camera-phone to any other - and limit it via geolocation so you cannot participate unless you are physically in the stadium at the time.
In addition to the background information and video access, Coyle strongly hints that such future features as user commentary and social networking will allow users to post their thoughts and even find fellow fans in the stands, including former classmates.
"We can develop anything anyone asks us to develop," he said.
The eStadium project has evolved into a joint project with Purdue and is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant along with a gift from Texas Instruments. Purdue's version of the eStadium has been live since 2003.
Plans are under way to add Wi-Fi capabilities and employ 4G networks to ensure the experience is smooth.
"You need a code to watch video, and that will be shared with the people in the stadium," Coyle said.
"Eventually, we should be able to do something like this for any sporting event," Coyle said. "Each sport has its own pace, so we'll try to customise it for each."