Section: Application Domains
Sport is characterized by complex displacements and motions. One main objective is to understand the determinants of performance through the analysis of the motion itself. In the team, different sports have been studied such as the tennis serve, where the goal was to understand the contribution of each segment of the body in the performance but also the risk of injuries as well as other situation in cycling, swimming, fencing or soccer. Sports motions are dependent on visual information that the athlete can pick up in his environment, including the opponent's actions. Perception is thus fundamental to the performance. Indeed, a sportive action, as unique, complex and often limited in time, requires a selective gathering of information. This perception is often seen as a prerogative for action, it then takes the role of a passive collector of information. However, as mentioned by Gibson in 1979, the perception-action relationship should not be considered sequentially but rather as a coupling: we perceive to act but we must act to perceive. There would thus be laws of coupling between the informational variables available in the environment and the motor responses of a subject. In other words, athletes have the ability to directly perceive the opportunities of action directly from the environment. Whichever school of thought considered, VR offers new perspectives to address these concepts by complementary using real time motion capture of the immersed athlete.
In addition to better understand sports and interactions between athletes, VR can also be used as a training environment as it can provide complementary tools to coaches. It is indeed possible to add visual or auditory information to better train an athlete. The knowledge found in perceptual experiments can be for example used to highlight the body parts that are important to look at to correctly anticipate the opponent's action.