Can you return the serve?

Can you return the serve?

Think you have what it takes to be the next tennis superstar? Think Nadal, Federer and Cibulkova have nothing on you?

With the edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting finals looming this weekend IBM ReturnServes are popping up at the Aus Open in Melbourne Park and Qantas domestic club lounge in Melbourne and the Qantas lounge in Sydney, recreating the serves of the finalists in virtual reality.

Just stick a funny looking contraption on your face (or an Oculus Rift headset to be precise), bend your knees slightly and grip your [virtual] racket tightly.

Developed in partnership with IBM Interactive and creative technology specialists DT and OgilvyOne, fans appear within an animated Rod Laver arena, and with the live serve data captured and analysed by IBM in real time fans have the chance to return the same serve twice, with extra titbits and information before the second attempt.

This real time virtual reality game is part of IBM’s marketing campaign at this year’s grand slam.

“This new activation gives tennis fans an immersive experience and the chance to stare down a serve from their favourite player,” Angela Gallo, IBM A/NZ sponsorship leader said.

“ReturnServe, hosted on IBM SoftLayer, is an exciting demonstration of how data analytics technology holds the key to unlock insights that can be game changing in both sport and business.”

I managed to return both of Nadal’s serves. Just saying.

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