Telecoms giant BT has unveiled the first prototypes from its 5G Edge-XR project which it claims will “re-imagine how we watch and perform sports through virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and extended mixed reality (XR) applications”.

The project, which combines the brand’s EE 5G network and BT Sport’s cloud graphics processing units, aims to make it possible for viewers to watch multiple virtual screens of live action along with augmented graphics.

Using smartphones, tablets and TVs alongside AR wearables and VR headsets, BT claims the new prototypes will provide fans with “new ways of engaging in sport” including live, latency-free graphic overlays, volumetric representations of the action and AR backdrops.

At a launch event at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium, BT Sport highlighted how its coverage of a number of sports would be supported by the 5G Edge-XR prototypes including rugby, football and boxing.

The most ambitious AR experience focused on MotoGP and featured a prototype providing an immersive race presentation through a virtual multi-screen viewing suite, with up to 17 different video panels watchable through wearable XR glasses or smartphone. The AR included an at-scale circuit map showing the position of riders throughout the race, together with a Parc Ferme area offering full-size 3D renderings of team motorbikes.

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