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swinging-for-the-fences-virtual-reality-baseball-coaching-system-developedTaking an unprecedented swing at new opportunities for sports in VR, NTT DATA Corporation — a global IT service provider — is teaming up with Rakuten Baseball, Inc. to  launch a new virtual reality baseball coaching system.

The system is set to launch in Japan in 2017. If all goes as planned, the service will subsequently be offered globally in the future.

As it’s described, the system leverages a database of professional players’ videos and performance statistics in order to create what the system’s creators call “high quality simulated video images.”

Rakuten Baseball said Wednesday that this is the first time a baseball coaching system (of the VR kind, at least) has been created in a collaborative fashion with a pro ball club.

The new system is targeted at raising the performance levels of professional baseball players, simulating for batters the sensation of standing in a real batter’s box and allowing them to experience virtual pitching scenarios through a head-mounted display.

“The Rakuten Eagles are keen to deploy the latest technology in the field of sport, and were happy to participate in these trials. Following their conclusion, we have decided to start using the system next season,” said Akira Ueda, Director of the Baseball Team Strategy Office, Rakuten Baseball, Inc. “We can expect the team to improve on a continuous basis, as the system allows the VR content to be updated as the baseball season progresses.”


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