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Blog: sports

The Copa América Comes to Layar

Chris Cameron June 28, 2011

Since 1916 the Copa América has been South America’s main association football tournament. 95 years later, the tournament is turning to the cutting edge field of augmented reality to help fans connect with the tournament and discover important information.



This year the tournament is hosted by Argentina, and will feature the 10 members of the CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) plus Mexico and Japan. Android users can download the official Copa América app in the Android market to keep up with tournament items like the teams, players, schedules, scores and tables.



In addition, the app also makes use of Layar to provide location-based and visual information to users. The tournament takes place at several stadiums across Argentina, and holding your phone up will point you to the various locations. If a match is in progress, the teams playing will be displayed along with the stadium icon.



Users can also access information about each participating squad in augmented reality as the flags of each nation are displayed around you no matter where you are. Check out the video below to have a look at how the developers of this application, Grupo Esfera, have blended Layar into the Copa América app! You can also access the layer from the Layar app by searching for “Copa América”.



The tournament kicks off July 1st, and don’t forget that YouTube will be providing free live coverage of the entire tournament!



Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/307

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Sevilla FC Connects with Football Fans on Layar

Chris Cameron June 21, 2011

In recent years, Spain has become the country of champions when it comes to football.



In 2010, Spain conquered The Netherlands (we’re still recovering here in Amsterdam) in the World Cup Final with a last minute extra-goal just minutes before the match would have gone to penalty kicks. And just last month, Barcelona defeated England’s Manchester United to win the UEFA Cup for Spain.



Spain is also leading on another forefront - the use of augmented reality and Layar. Spain has fostered some truly impressive augmented reality experiences, including many layers on our platform. With a new layer from one of our Spanish partners, B_Cultura, the worlds of football and augmented reality have finally come together!



With the new Sevilla FC layer, fans of the La Liga club can pose for virtual photographs with their favorite stars. Forward Frederic Kanoute, defender Mauhamadou Dabo, keeper Javi Varas and midfielder Guarente are all posed in the AR view so you can snap a photo with them. You can also take a picture wearing a virtual jersey of the club, including home, away, alternate, Europa League and Copa del Rey variants.



To cap it all off, you can also pose with the team’s emblem, as well as a model of the UEFA Cup. With Layar 5.0’s sharing features, users can easily share their screenshots with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.



It’s all very basic and very fun, especially for big fans of Sevilla FC. We at Layar are very excited to see a major football club take it’s first steps into augmented reality and can’t wait to see more intersections of AR and football!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/304

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On Augmenting Live Events

Chris Cameron May 12, 2011

Yesterday on the Layar Twitter account, we tweeted a link to a story on FastCompany about a new product called CrowdOptic and how augmented reality may “transform live events“.



CrowdOptic has raised some money to develop it’s unique concept that I think The Unofficial Apple Weblog describes well:



“Once the CrowdOptic system is installed at a concert or sports venue, the magic happens through triangulation. At least two people need to be pointing their iPhones at the same thing, at the same time, and the GPS location, compass direction and time of day will be used to figure out the most likely image being viewed and display information on exactly that. The accuracy is dependent upon how many people are looking at the same thing.”



A unique approach, indeed, but I was simply happy to see technology moving in this general direction.



As a sports fan, I’ve always thought augmented reality could work wonders on live sports and other events, but there are many challenges here. From my experience, phones are at times rendered useless in stadiums. More arenas are providing free wifi (whose bandwidth can get clogged) but others force phone-toting fans to rely on cell networks (which also get overloaded).



For live events to be augmented, a solution to connectivity problem is needed. Granted, not every venue suffers this problem, and smaller events could likely get around it. And it’s probably not even as widespread an issue as I may think. Regardless, solutions will come in time, just as the technology to provide more immersive experiences at live events will mature.



And as it does, just imagine the possibilities.



An example I’ve always loved is this video, which explores the possibility of a virtual offsides line during a football match. Simply hold up your phone and the line follows the further man back, turning green or red if the man is onside or not.



What if all the visual information available to TV viewers watching sports at home could appear before your eyes from your seat in the stadium, arena, gymnasium or ballpark? See that infamous yellow first-down line during a football game, or perhaps a projection of where a batter is most likely to hit the next pitch based on his past at-bats. Or see where the olympian in the swim meet or 500 meter dash is stacking up when compared to a world record holder.



If the massive display screens being erected at stadiums around the world say anything, it’s that team owners believe in-game entertainment is growing increasingly more important to fan retention.



As stadiums and sports leagues try to find ways to keep fans coming to see the events live rather than lounge comfortably on their big sofas in the air conditioned homes with 52” flatscreen TVs on the walls, perhaps it is augmented reality that will help usher the fans to their seats.



Image from CrowdOptic.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/278

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