In Russia, the world’s first fencing simulator in virtual reality FencingVR has appeared. The idea to turn professional sport into cyber discipline came to Igor Melnikov directly during fencing. The founder of the virtual reality laboratory and President of the Federation of modern pentathlon in Udmurtia has already had a similar experience: he used a VR helmet in biathlon and Alpine skiing.
“It is quite simple to transfer some elements of the fencing training process to virtual reality. There are special sensors that we attach to the sword, to the guard, and they transfer a real object to a virtual space,” Melnikov said in a comment for RIA News.
ESports and the future plans
The main goal of the new equipment Melnikov calls attracting the younger generation to traditional sports, because, according to him, now they are more interested in watching broadcasts of games than going to training. “Regular sports are gradually losing their appeal to Millennials. Using our simulator, we call it a hybrid sport, when both eSports and real sports are combined, we attract the attention of young people,” he added.
By a happy coincidence, the development was noticed by the international fencing Federation, whose members were delighted with training in virtual reality. Now Melnikov plans to show the equipment at the Junior fencing championship, which will be held in the American Salt Lake city.
The Federation plans to invest both the trip and the equipment — they plan to add a rapier and a saber to the program. In addition, we are also interested in VR simulators. “We had the Presidium of the modern pentathlon Federation, we talked with other presidents of regional federations, and the modern pentathlon Federation Cheboksary allocated a grant and included our simulator in it. This created, in fact, the first precedent in the world when the modern pentathlon Federation bought a fencing simulator,” Melnikov shared.
How does it work?
Virtual reality classes are held twice a week. The simulator is one of the elements of the training process. It can’t replace full-fledged sparring, but it helps to hone the technique. Now there are four exercises in the program.
In the first, the athlete must prick the balls falling on him with the tip of the sword so that they hit the target. In the second, swords fly at the athlete, hitting different parts of the body — the head, legs, body, hands. His task is to apply the right defense and fight off these attacks that go non-stop. The third exercise is a rectangle with five buttons on it. When one of them turns green, you need to prick it with the tip of your sword.
The fourth simulator-in front of the athlete is a 3D model of the fencer and it also lights up red dots on certain parts of the body. The athlete’s task is to get into these parts of the body. Next, we plan to make this animated model come to life and make an attack, so that the athlete can make a defense and a retaliatory injection, ” Melnikov said. The equipment was created together with professional athletes and federations, and thanks to their feedback, the simulator turned out to be as close to reality as possible.