Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7
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Training Your Brain Muscles with VR

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Sense Arena’s portable VR Hockey Training kit was a big hit at CES 2019

A couple of months ago I went to the VR Sports and Entertainment Summit in San Francisco, where I had a chance to try out the virtual Hockey training kit from Sense Arena, so am really not surprised the company has made such a splash in the much bigger CES pond these past few days.

The brain is the most important ‘muscle’ in an athlete’s body Click To Tweet

Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7

Even for someone who had never played hockey before, I found the experience incredibly entertaining Click To Tweet

Even for someone who had never played hockey before, I found the experience incredibly entertaining, and could swear I improved my performance from appalling to merely dismal in the short space of time I was allowed to play. Best of all, having tried A LOT of different controllers and experiences over the years, I was thoroughly impressed with how realistic the physics felt between the physical stick and the virtual puck. My brain really had a hard time believing that both weren’t real, which, of course, is the point.

“This is more than just a game. It’s a tool for kids or even professional players,” explains Patrik Elias, a top ranked 20- year NHL player for the New Jersey Devils, who attended CES in support of Sense Arena. “Everyone is trying to find tools to get better because the competition is getting tougher and tougher. Tech is a big part of any professional sport now,” he added.

Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7

The technology has been developed with extensive input from hockey coaches and professional players Click To Tweet

The technology has been developed with extensive input from hockey coaches and professional players such as Bruin’s Right Winger – David Pastrnak and NHL ex pro-player Jan Ludvig, current Bruins Pro Scout.

“The technology and the reality of the environment are just amazing and so far, we’ve only seen half of what Sense Arena can be further developed into! I would definitely encourage you to try Sense Arena – you have to try it to believe it,” said Boston Bruins David Pastrnak.

Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7

The whole kit – which comes ready for commercial or in-home use - is portable, and the self-contained case is hardly more cumbersome than the real-life sports equipment would be Click To Tweet

This system is designed to let players improve their cognitive skills (much like surgeons already do with VR training tools) and overall “hockey sense” by simulating game situations, while focusing on reaction speed and decision making skills to test a player’s hockey intelligence.

“The brain is the most important ‘muscle’ in an athlete’s body. Every command to our bodies starts in the brain. Improving cognitive functions of players is going to be the new game changer. VR gives you the benefit to work on speed of reaction, decision making, reading of the game etc.,” explains Bob Tetiva, Sense Arena Founder and CEO.

Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7

This system is designed to let players improve their cognitive skills Click To Tweet

The whole kit – which comes ready for commercial or in-home use – is portable, and the self-contained case is hardly more cumbersome than the real-life sports equipment would be. It is, however, a considerable investment the Pro Pack will set you back $5,480 (which includes a HTC Vive Pro, two HTC lighthouses, four trackers, one wireless adapter, and VR-ready PC with a touch monitor. You also require a $199 monthly subscription. As a training tool for an entire team, however, it is easy to see how that investment could quickly pay off.

This article originally appeared on VRScout

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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.

Tech Trend VR Hockey Training Sense Arena CES 2019 Virtual Reality 7