Vodafone uses 5G to provide vision enhancing headsets for Wimbledon

Vodafone uses 5G to provide vision enhancing headsets for Wimbledon

Wimbledon training ground

Visually impaired tennis fans will be able to watch matches from anywhere on the court, courtesy of new technology from Vodafone and GiveVision.

Vodafone is trialling the new technology at this year’s Wimbledon. Live footage of tennis matches is streamed from local TV cameras over 5G to headsets developed by GiveVision, which enhance the footage to suit the person’s specific sight profile.

The headsets enhance the footage to suit the wearer’s specific sight profile, by bringing it closer to their eye to stimulate the photoreceptor cells in the retina (cells that respond to light), which means a degree of sight can be regained.

The new technology allows fans to watch the action from anywhere in the stands. Previous users of the headsets had to be within 10-20m of a transmitter box in a pre-determined ‘accessibility’ area, with each box only able to support a limited number of headsets.

Vodafone’s 5G network covers all of centre court and Court Number 1, where the trial is taking place, so visually impaired fans can enjoy the action from anywhere in the crowd alongside their friends and family.

Furthermore, the increased capacity attained by using the 5G network means a virtually unlimited number of devices can be used.

Vodafone’s UK chief commercial officer, Max Taylor, said: “At Vodafone we are committed to using our technology to bring fans closer to the action.”

“Wimbledon is one of the most iconic moments in the British summer calendar, and we are proud to be able to showcase how the power of our 5G network can help make the sport more accessible to people.”

The trial is part of Vodafone’s broader commitment to improve accessibility across both sport and music.

At this year’s Mighty Hoopla Festival in London’s Brockwell Park, Vodafone unveiled 5G-enabled haptic suits, that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing music fans to feel vibrations generated in real-time from performers and the crowd.

Vodafone appear to be using the news to get the public excited about the seemingly science-fiction possibilities of 5G, referencing their merger plans with Three UK as part of the announcement.

The deal is going to face a tough battle to secure approval from UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, but Vodafone were keen to highlight that a tie-up would help them invest £11 billion and reach over 99% of the UK population with 5G Standalone by 2034.

Gift this article