Protecting Children’s Health Using Virtual Sports
- Date : 21-12-01
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As a parent of a child attending elementary school, I feel it is becoming increasingly difficult for children to pursue outdoor sports activities. I usually played with my child outdoors during the spring and fall, but now, I often abandon the idea due to the fine and yellow dust blowing in from China. The threat of COVID-19 has also contributed to this decision. Virtual reality-based indoor sports activities have emerged as an alternative solution, because children can participate in them regardless of external circumstances. Once children are familiar with the experience of playing virtual games, they can improve their physical strength. And using empty classrooms, which are increasing in number due to the decline in the school-age population, for this purpose would be like killing two birds with one stone.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation have already developed a “virtual reality sports room,” and have been steadily setting it up in elementary schools over the past few years. Several users can simultaneously participate in ball-based activities in one or two classrooms with the help of projection screens and wall touch sensors. The Korea Sports Promotion Foundation has set up virtual reality sports rooms in 361 elementary schools since 2016, with plans to scale the project up by 100 more schools this year. This project was selected as one of the “Top 100 Excellent Achievements in National R&D” in 2019.
The virtual reality sports room is a rare innovation, and Korea, an information technology powerhouse, is leading the way. Korea is currently preparing to standardize virtual reality sports facilities at every school and establish a 5G-based content integration platform to enable the use of more than 200 different kinds of content. This is expected to reduce the development costs for content producers and increase satisfaction for teachers and students alike. “Peloton,” the company responsible for this innovation, has attained unicorn status and gained the market reputation of being the “Netflix of the fitness industry.” And exercise games that use glasses-type monitors, such as Oculus Quest, are gaining popularity in the single-person virtual reality market.
Under these circumstances, a new model for physical education can be realized by linking individual single-person virtual reality sports platforms with a school’s virtual reality sports room. For example, if the physical strength data of students measured at home during a baseball class is linked to the virtual reality sports room, each student can then throw a ball at a different speed which corresponds to his or her measured strength. Korea is striving to improve virtual reality sports rooms and provide high-quality content through standardization and platformization. I hope that the world’s best virtual reality sports technology will improve the health and physical strength of future generations.？