Ravens dip toe into “mixed reality,” holographic players

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Virtual reality has become a growing part of training and practice regimens around the league in recent years as teams look for any possible way to improve their results on the field.

The Ravens have stepped into another technological arena. Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun reports that the team has struck a one-year deal with a company called Mixed River that uses computer simulations to create programs that allow real players to interact with holographic ones. They call it “mixed reality” and players wearing headsets can watch and react to their simulated opponents lining up and running plays.

Per Ravens vice president of video operations Jon Dube, the idea is to allow coaches to “accurately visualize plays in the gym and teach players their assignments without having to step on the field.” For now, the team is using the technology to simulate plays on “computer monitors, laptops or projected spaces” with the company hoping to put the headset into use in the future.

Former NFL quarterback Trent Edwards now works for VR company STRIVR and offered a critique of the use of holographic stand-ins, saying it “feels to date a little too game-ified and too like Madden graphics” for him to believe it will help. That’s what you’d expect a competing company to say, but the true evaluation of which technologies are effecting will come from the teams themselves in the coming years.