This morning, as a guest of ASB Bank, I headed down to the ASB Tennis Arena in Parnell to play on what they’ve called “the longest tennis court in the world” (Guinness World Records pending).
The brain child of Saatchi & Saatchi, the system is a brilliant mix of live action and technology. Standing on a tennis court in Parnell, the player can see the other half of the court, at Wilding Park in Christchurch, on a large video projection screen (the whole setup is duplicated in Christchurch).
When the serve is made, the large gantry over the net tracks a whole stack of metrics about the tennis ball in flight – this information is then beamed to Christchurch, where a ball serving machine replicates it there. When the Christchurch player returns the serve, the process is repeated but in reverse, allowing the two players to play each other, even though they are in two completely separate locations.
There is a net in front of the screen to catch the tennis balls (above) and four cameras located in the gantry track the ball as it passes underneath (below left) and the two ball serving machines (below right), which were imported from the USA and modified for this application.
Back of the large projection screen from Oceania (below)
Screenshot of the custom software in action (below) from Rush Digital
Gantry setup, up close (below)
My thanks to ASB for the invitation, and to Danu Abeysuriya, CEO of Rush Digital Interactive, for giving me a tour of all the cool tech that they’re using.
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