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NBA To Take A ‘Magic Leap’ Into Augmented Reality

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — The National Basketball Association is teaming up with virtual reality company Magic Leap to bring Turner-owned NBA content to the company’s forthcoming Augmented Reality goggles.

The announcement came at Recode’s Code Media conference in Los Angeles Tuesday when Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz was joined on stage by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

“We are honored to be one of their initial partners,” Silver told the Audience.

In an interview with The Verge, Abovitz said that within “two to five years” it would be possible to bring volumetric data to the goggles, allowing viewers to watch an NBA game in real time from a virtual court.

If you’re unfamiliar with the lingo, volumetric data provides a way of capturing video of 3D objects and recreating an accurate depiction of real-life space in a virtual computer environment. Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality – which is a computer simulation of an environment, but instead overlays computer-generated scenery or even people over the real-life location the viewer is in.

“You can stream over the top and to the screens, the virtual screens — you can do that now,” Abovitz told The Verge. “We’re looking at, how do you derive the information to move the volumetric stuff from that? And then, how do you do volumetric live-streaming as well … if you time where processing power is going, particularly backends, you’re single-digit years away from that happening.”

Abovitz went on to note that collaborating with a sports league like the NBA was a natural choice for the development of volumetric AR as a basketball court is a fixed, physical space, which makes it easier to overcome production challenges.

Magic Leap announced in December that they were shipping a beta version of their AR headset to developers in 2018, but have yet to announce a release date for the long-rumored project. Bloomberg reported at the time that the headsets are expected to cost between $1,500 to $2,000.