You can’t teleport to a pro basketball game — yet — but the NBA is doing the next best thing: Using an augmented reality app to bring you courtside at the NBA Finals. A new update to the NBA’s AR app adds a way to create doorways where you can step into 360-degree snippets of the NBA experience. Consider it an AR version of a pregame show: player introductions, the pregame tunnel, warm-ups and the like. Why? Well, why not? The NBA launched its first AR app on iOS last year with a basketball-shooting minigame. The new Portals experience will be available with Wednesday’s update to that app, which is also coming to ARCore-ready Android phones for the first time. A little magic basketball doorway The app starts by scanning the ground and laying down a spot where the “portal” appears: a doorway where the 360-degree video lies. Stepping forward and through turns the app screen into a full 360-degree video. Turn around, and the portal still remains, but showing the world you came from. The app includes pregame and warmup moments from the Conference Finals at launch, but moments from the NBA Finals, shot on 360-degree cameras, will be curated and added over the series. The portal effect is more of a clever trick using AR: After all, 360-degree video apps aplenty already exist. But this can be considered a bit of experimentation, too, for where AR in sports could go next. Baby steps to more AR next season?… [Read full story]
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