Bristol University’s computer vision experts working with BT to create live 3D hologram streaming of sport


By Edward Deacon, SciTech Digital Editor

Correction (16 October 2020): In the original copy of this article, published on 15 October 2020, the claim that Bristol firm Condense Reality (CR) are working with BT Sport was false. They are in fact working with BT Applied Research. This correction has now been made and Epigram apologises for the inaccuracy.

Bristol firm Condense Reality (CR) are working with BT Applied Research to create a hologram-style immersive streaming technology, allowing viewers to watch sporting events with AR in their living rooms.

The 5G Edge XR project successfully passed its trial, and CR have now raised £800,000 to develop the project further with an initial focus for covering boxing events, followed by other sports.

CR have developed a system that allows 3D ‘volumetric video’ – holograms – of live events to be streamed alongside conventional television broadcasting.

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Previously, capturing the hologram has required creating a 3D image, viewable from multiple angles and by multiple people, using green screens and hundreds of cameras, with the technique taking days to create minutes’ worth of footage.

CR claims to have a solution that captures volumetric video in real time without the need for a studio and with far fewer cameras.

A team from the Visual Information Lab at the University of Bristol, led by Prof Andrew Calway and David Bull, will work alongside CR, bringing their knowledge of computer vision and video coding to the project.

The approaches we’re exploring with the teams in Bristol can transform how we experience sport, music, drama and education

Speaking of the collaboration, Co-Founder and CEO of CR, Nick Fellingham said ‘working with the University will help us to push our technology to new levels, giving us that important edge in the market.’

The project is being funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of its 5G Create programme, which aims to showcase how live sport and the arts can be presented remotely using immersive VR and AR technology in conjunction with the new 5G network.

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BT’s MD of Applied Research, Prof Tim Whitley, commented that ‘the approaches we’re exploring with the teams in Bristol can transform how we experience sport, music, drama and education. With access to live cultural events and sport being limited by the ongoing pandemic, this project seems more relevant and urgent than ever.’

Featured Image: Jonathan Tomas | Unsplash

Are you excited about this new way of watching sports?


Edward Deacon

SciTech Digital Editor 2020-21 | 4th year Physics