Augmented, Virtual Reality on Full Display at French Open

French Open Excites Fans with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence

French Open

Tennis fans sure got a pleasant surprise.

The 2016 French Open, which was held at the Roland-Garros Stadium in Paris, was not only a place for sports fans but also served as an arena for those who want to share their knowledge and know more about the latest in technology. New technology were displayed at the RG Lab that got many tennis fans excited, especially the tech heads.

2016 French Open Taps Augmented and Virtual Reality Enthusiasts

The redesigned 2016 RG Lab, located within the grounds, engaged visitors in the world of connected tennis with contemporary technologies by focusing heavily on virtual reality.

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2016 RG Lab

There was live coverage of the French Open matches shown in virtual reality, which became, unsurprisingly, an immense attraction for guests. There was a VR camera system, an integration of digitally inserted graphics, and encoding, which was done through a cloud-based service called FireKast. This was made possible courtesy of three French-based firms.

An Orah 4i camera, which contained four smaller lenses, was mounted above the umpire chair on all three courts. It helped create a 360-degree, 4K display for viewers.

The experience was also made available on a RG360°virtual reality app for smartphones and Samsung VR gear for free.
France Télévisions already said in a previous statement that they will be giving visitors the opportunity to make a digital avatar of themselves. This was just an additional segment on top of all the other demonstrations on artificial intelligence and augmented reality via holographs that were presented at the show.

To get their own digital avatar, French Open spectators only had to step inside the firm’s 3-D scanning booth for their data to be captured. A clone would then be created, which is shareable on social media and can be used to play tennis in a virtual manner.

Longines, a Swiss watchmaking company, was also there to present Hawk-Eye, a tennis simulator that showed participants what it was like to be a player and practice their serves. The firm said the technology has been around since 2002 and is currently being used in over 80 tournaments.


French financial firm BNP Paribas sponsored the We Are Tennis Virtual Room, which can be likened to a VR studio. There, fans were given a chance to immerse in virtual reality where they learned and performed choreographed dances, among other things, in an interactive 3-D environment.

Virtual reality is a new sensation that is expected to shift the focus of the RG Lab away from Ultra High Definition and 4K video, which has been the main attraction for the past few years. The incorporation of the new technology was a way for organizers of the French Open to see how fans would react to this tech as the world’s best tennis players put on the real show on clay.

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