VR-tracked cricket bat

The world’s first cricket bat with full virtual reality integration and realistic feedback.

Centurion VR is on a mission to advance immersive qualities of VR sport, starting with cricket, the second most popular sport in the world.

They approached Synapse looking to develop a simulation-level virtual cricket experience with a physical product suitable for both commercial arcade leasing and professional use. We were able to leverage our deep expertise in developing and delivering SteamVR™ trackable objects, as well as reliable, high-touch consumer devices to create a VR cricket bat that brings the world’s most realistic cricket batting simulator to life.

The deeply immersive experience of Centurion VR’s cricket simulation is the result of several highly accurate systems working in conjunction. The bat tracking system, run by SteamVR™, tracks the player’s bat movements with submillimeter accuracy. The in-game ball positional data are captured and replayed by the advanced, sport-specific Hawk-Eye™ tracking system. Synapse engineers designed the VR bat to be the correct size and weight, and created a number of force feedback systems within—provided by solenoids and eccentric rotating mass motors—that make it feel as if you are actually hitting a ball.

The simulation features real-life bowling data from live matches via the aforementioned Hawk-Eye system, which not only creates fun gameplay for cricket fans, but also the performance to support cricket simulation and training for top professional players.

Why a custom-tracked object?

The trend towards more immersive VR experiences is driving the need for experience-specific functionality, enabled by haptics and force responsive feedback. Simulation VR experiences (as opposed to ‘game’ experiences) demand realistic, tailored solutions. 

Though economical, utilizing off-the-shelf or bolt on hardware raises several concerns: 

  • Lack of experience-specific feel and shape, leading to less immersive or non-immersive interactions
  • Potentially degraded tracking performance
    • Potential for IMU clipping 
    • Potential for IMU & haptic force-feedback coupling