Even Kobe Bryant can't believe the latest basketball and lighting innovations

 

“My first experience of LED floors – I didn’t even know it was possible.”

 

Those were the words of NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant when he saw this motion-reactive sports court, recently opened in Shanghai, China, showcasing both connected lighting and the principles of wearable tech in a new context.

The court, hosted in the frankly fantastically-named ‘House of Mamba’, was created by Nike to help teach young players some of the moves that have made Kobe Bryant an NBA All-Star. By interacting with the motion sensors, the court can project ideal game-play scenarios, guiding players towards the right tactical moves to win the game.


One of the really exciting things about connected lighting lies in the opportunities it creates in areas where we never usually think about the lights. In sports, traditionally lighting has existed only to either showcase the action or showcase the half-time show, so it’s great to see those two coming together.


Right now, wearable technology is a major buzzword in lighting technology. This sports court takes the principles of wearable sporting technology and applies them to the arena itself, allowing for highly specialized, custom training methods.

The court was designed to help teach young players some of the moves that have made Kobe Bryant an NBA All-Star. By interacting with the motion sensors, the court can project ideal gameplay scenarios, guiding players towards the right tactical moves to win the game.

 

This could be a great addition to the play-by-plays during training. How about the coach using it to try out new plays, adjusting them via a computer or smartphone to test new variations on blocking in real-time?

 

Of course, it’s not entirely sensible for a team to project their game plans during a match itself. So it’s a good thing that the court’s stunning visuals create a whole array of additional entertainment for the audience. From game star count-downs to striking patterns in team colors, the House of Mamba court is capable of any lighting design imaginable.

 

The fact that it’s driven by motion sensors means it’s also something the players themselves can have fun with, moving across the court in new ways to create new lighting patterns that follow them around the court.How about the court lights following the game from one end of the court to the other? Creating exciting visual displays whenever a team scores? Or creating a light Mexican Wave that follows the audience around the stadium?

 

It might even be possible in future to use this information to create a new method of broadcasting games live. Imagine being able to watch a 3D hologram of your team’s latest game on your desk!

 

The lighting could also add an additional challenge to the game.  In future, it could be possible (or, in fact, necessary) to create new rules based on how the floor responds at certain times. The floor could also play a part in helping officials establish when a player has broken a rule, or indeed which player broke the rule.

This technology could also apply to the basketballs themselves.  A basketball fitted with connected lighting and motion sensors could tell you the best options for your next move, based purely on where you’re standing and how you’re holding the ball?

 

Alternatively, a light-up basketball might just make your games easier to play, as LED golf balls are already doing… and look even cooler.

If you were put in charge of a sports court that you could control the look of, what would you do? Let us know your ideas (that show good sportsmanship!) in the comments below.

 

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